Freedom to Marry Welcomes Stop to Deportation Proceeding Against Married Same-Sex Couple



Press Contact:
Jackie Yodashkin
Communications Director, Freedom to Marry

(New York, NY, June 30, 2011) – Below is a statement from Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry, on today’s announcement that an immigration judge approved the government’s request to put a stop to the deportation proceedings against Henry Velandia, the foreign-born legal spouse of an American citizen, Joshua Vandiver, stating that the case “is no longer a law enforcement priority”:

“Freedom to Marry applauds the U.S. government for bringing an end to this deportation process, which threatened to cruelly separate a couple who, like so many others, fell in love, made a lifetime commitment to one another, and got married – but because they are gay, were denied the normal family immigration protections afforded other married couples.  While this exercise of sound government discretion is most welcome, Josh and Henry, along with so many other families, should not be vulnerable to the unfair treatment or uncertainty caused by federal marriage discrimination against same-sex couples.  It is time for Congress to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and end the hardship and unfairness that burden the lives of loving and committed couples. ”


Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.