Video Highlighting Harms of DOMA to Married Lesbian Couple Denied Immigration Protections

6/8/2011

 
Press Contact:
Jackie Yodashkin
Communications Director, Freedom to Marry
jackie@freedomtomarry.org
917-620-4502

(New York, NY, June 8, 2011) – Today, Freedom to Marry released a video produced in partnership with In The Life Media telling the story of Cristina Alcota and Monica Ojeda, who, though legally married, face possible deportation or separation because the so-called Defense of Marriage Act denies married same-sex couples immigration protections. To view the video in English, click here.  To view the video in Spanish, click here.  To view in Spanish with English subtitles, click here.

“Cristina and Monica fell in love, made a lifetime commitment to one another, and got married.  Now they spend every day worrying about whether they will be ripped apart or forced into exile in order to stay together because the so-called Defense of Marriage Act keeps the U.S. government from honoring their marriage,” said Evan Wolfson, Founder and President of Freedom to Marry. “If not for DOMA, Cristina would be able to petition for Monica as her spouse without any difficulty.  It is time to overturn DOMA and ensure that all Americans are treated fairly and equally under the law.”

Cristina and Monica met several years ago when Cristina was in school for social work.  They married in a ceremony in Connecticut.  An American citizen, Cristina petitioned for her wife Monica, an Argentinean national, to become a citizen.  Because they are a same-sex couple, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act bars the federal government from honoring their marriage for the purposes of immigration, but in March 2011 an immigration judge delayed their case in light of court challenges finding DOMA unconstitutional, and the Department of Justice’s determination that DOMA is indefensible under the Constitution.

Of marriage, Cristina Alcota says in the video “You’re doing this to be with the person you love for the rest of your life… marriage is a bond that cannot be broken that easily.”  She goes on to say “The government doesn’t recognize that our marriage is valid for purposes of immigration because of DOMA and we are facing being either torn apart or being removed from this country.”

Cristina is a social worker and Monica is an antique furniture restorer.  The two women currently live in Queens, New York.

Cristina and Monica have shared their story with the Stop the Deportations campaign, urging the Obama Administration not to throw law-abiding foreign-born same-sex spouses of American citizens out of the country pending the outcome of legal challenges to DOMA.

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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.