Monday, October 20, 2008

No More Goodbyes, Please

Those who read this blog know that my boyfriend Tobi is a Japanese national. He is in the U.S. on a working visa that eventually can be converted into permanent immigration. The recent Wall Street meltdown and banking crisis has had an effect on the industry in which Tobi works, and as a result many jobs are being lost. Last week Tobi's boss told him that he will likely be laid off from his job in a matter of weeks.

Under the terms of his visa, Tobi will have 10 days to leave the U.S. if he becomes unemployed.

As you can imagine, we are now in crisis mode. Tobi is frantically trying to find a new job in the worst job market in recent memory. We are desperate-- sending resumes, talking to immigration lawyers, calling in favors to everyone we know and clinging tearfully to each other at night knowing that our life together may soon explode.

The bitter part of this for me is that if Tobi had slightly different anatomy, this whole crisis would be a non-issue. As a U.S. citizen I have the right to sponsor a female for immigration. We would not have to lose a single night's sleep... if we were an opposite-sex couple. However, as it stands, there is a law called DOMA that specifically prohibits the Federal Government from recognizing our relationship, even if we were to marry in any of the states where this is legal.

In two weeks there will be votes in three states on the topic of gay marriage. None of these votes will directly change the law that prevents Tobi and me from being recognized as a couple for visa purposes. However, their outcome will have a large political effect one way or the other.

Governor Palin recently restated her support for a Federal Marriage Amendment that would encode anti-gay discrimination into the foundational charter of our country. Her position is not surprising, since the Republican party's 2008 platform is the most gay-hostile ever. The McCain-Palin ticket is against the repeal of DOMA. On the other hand, the Obama-Biden ticket has pledged to give support to gay couples, including the full repeal of DOMA. (I can live without the word 'marriage' if the visa problems get fixed.)

Anyway, that's the situation. I am not asking for your pity. However, I do ask that you understand the stakes of this election. The lives of real people are at stake.


Mr. Fob said...

That sucks. If I believed in God I'd pray for you, but as it is I'll hope for you and put my vote toward changes that'll eventually put an end to stupid situations like this.

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

Sometimes I really hate this country.

I know it doesn't help, but if you were in Canada, this would also be a non-issue. Maybe we should all move there.

Sabayon said...

Wait, isn't it unconstitutional for the federal government to not recognize a marriage license created in any state? I'm pretty sure that's a violation of the Full Faith and credit clause, not that you would necessarily want to be a test case.
In any case, that's terrible.

Scot said...

I'm so sorry. That's just tragic.

I kind of feel vindictive to say I read this and yearn for the day the people who support such laws are judged by history and their grandchildren.

Anyway, best of luck.

Beck said...

This strengthens my resolve and it helps me to articulate to others how such actions or inactions in the political process directly affect real lives, innocently and quietly living their lives.

I know you and Tobi don't mean to be an example of this, but you are.

Hang in there. I do believe in God and I am praying for you!

C. L. Hanson said...

This is exactly the sort of reality check I always mention when people say "well, the government should just get out of the marriage business altogether!" The day the government gets out of the business of throwing people out of the country for not being citizens (eg. when pigs fly) maybe we can start to talk about whether they should stop providing documentation for family relationships.

I think Sabayon is right about the "full faith and credit" clause, but a case would have to make it all the way to the Supreme Court for the law to get struck down, which could take years -- not a small matter for a family that gets divided.

My heart goes out to you both, and I'm sorry that there's not more I can do.

playasinmar said...

Obama's gonna repeal DOMA?

MoHoHawaii said...

Mr. Fob: Thanks. It's a good thing you moved to CA. If Prop 8 goes down by a single vote, I'll know who to thank.

Craig: I love Canada. I may be visiting there more regularly in the near future. :-<

Sabayon: Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, full faith and credit doesn't apply here. DOMA anticipates this and voids the issue. You can read about the issue here.

Scot: Thanks for your kind wishes. Keep up the good work.

Beck: Tobi and I are holding up, but it's not been an easy week. I'll keep you posted. We have an appointment with the best immigration attorney in our area tomorrow. We'll see what happens.

Chanson: It all seems so simple. Why are the laws so complicated and unfair? Thanks for your support.


Here is what Senator Obama wrote about DOMA in the a letter to the gay community:

I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does.

Despite the smooth words of reconciliation, the actual position of the McCain/Palin ticket is very hostile toward gay people. Who knows whether a President Obama will come through on his promise about DOMA. He is at least on our side, and I think his character is a lot better than the unreliable Bill Clinton.