This post was written by Freedom to Marry's New Media Intern Joe Girton.
Josh and Henry’s story sounds all too familiar – and that’s not a good thing. Why? The couple is one of over 35,000 bi-national gay or lesbian couples in the United States threatened by the federal government’s vicious DOMA-based deportation policies.
Venezuelan-born Henry applied for a green card a week after the couple’s August 2010 marriage in Connecticut, a process every straight bi-national couple is familiar with. Unlike them, however, Henry didn’t expect immediate approval. Under the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government doesn’t recognize or honor the couple’s marriage, preventing Josh, an American citizen, from sponsoring Henry for immigration into the U.S. What’s different about this couple? They’re the first to appeal a green card application rejection since the Obama administration’s Justice Department stopped defending the statute.
On May 6, Henry will appear before an immigration judge in Newark to plead his case. The couple is hoping Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will fast-track policy to stop deportations of couples affected by DOMA, a move that would lend tremendous support to their fight, as well as those of the thousands of other couples facing this horrendous challenge.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, the couple talked about their commitment to each other. “Henry’s my other half. He’s the person I want to spend my life with, that’s why I married him,” says Josh. “It’s something that I’ve grown up expecting: marry whom you love, and then have them stay here with you in this country.”
Josh, a university professor, and Henry, a dance teacher and small business owner, state on their website that the last thing they wanted to do was be activists. Couples like Josh and Henry shouldn’t be forced (at great cost) to defend their relationships in the courtroom as a result of the federal government’s continued enforcement of a policy they’ve admitted is unconstitutional.
As Roberts points out DOMA isn’t just hurting couples, it’s hurting children as well: almost half of the bi-national same-sex couples affected have children. That’s another reminder of why DOMA must be overturned.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has the power to end deportation proceedings against Josh. Sign All Out's petition calling on her to stop the deportation of the spouses of American citizens.