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.