HRC Blog

DOMA’s Consequences: Tearing Loving Families Apart

Post submitted by Michael Cole-Schwartz, Former HRC Director of Communications

Every day, we hear new, powerful stories about how the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) harms LGBT people and their families. 

One of the latest if that of Immigration Equality clients Bradford Wells and Anthony Makk.  Two weeks ago, Anthony, an Australian citizen, was denied the ability to apply for legal permanent residency, leaving him few options to remain in the United States legally.  He is the sole caregiver for his husband Bradford Wells, a U.S. citizen who is living with AIDS.

After living together for nearly two decades and legally marrying in Massachusetts seven years ago, the committed couple is now being torn apart by DOMA, which prohibits U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from granting him a green card as a spouse of an American citizen.

Since becoming law in 1996, DOMA has forced too many loving, committed and legally married couples to choose between love and country. By preventing the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of thousands of same-sex couples, DOMA harms the families, and institution, it purports to protect. DOMA’s discriminatory denial of over 1000 federal rights and benefits of marriage to married same-sex couples is unjust; the added uncertainty that bi-national same-sex couples face about sharing a life and country is unthinkable.

That is why HRC is pushing Congress to pass the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow American citizens to sponsor their same-sex partners for immigration purposes, and the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA and restore respect for states’ lawful marriages.  In this case and other heartbreaking cases like it, we urge the administration to do everything legally in their authority to keep families together.

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