Farewell DOMA and Prop 8

by Sasha Wilkins on June 27, 2013 · 15 comments

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(Me and my darling boys outside the Soho Grand, Fall 2008)

There was some crying in the middle of Dalston Junction this afternoon when I realised that the Supreme Court of the United States had overturned DOMA – the Defense of Marriage Act. Whilst any move forward for the civil rights movement gets me emotional, I was weeping because two people I love dearly are closely affected by today’s historic decision.

For those of you who are new-ish to LLG, two of my dearest friends, Jason and Yoann, and their Basset Hounds Max and Finchley, have always opened their doors to me at their home in New Jersey (chronicled under the My Life in New Jersey category), and they and their home have been consistent characters on LLG.

Jason is an American CEO, Yoann is a French interior designer. They met in Estonia over ten years ago, and have been together ever since. (Little known fact: Max is an Estonian Basset Hound.) They moved to London, and then Jason got a brilliant job back in America.

But DOMA meant that, even in the twelve states where gay marriage was recognised, same sex couples were not eligible for federal recognition or benefits. So Yoann could not get a spousal visa to remain in the US. Finally, after years of worry, he secured a job that allowed him a work visa in the US, but it wasn’t in interior design. Essentially he went to work in this job purely to allow him to stay in the US.

The situation was ridiculous: they have shared their lives, house & hounds for many years yet, because the American Federal Government refused to recognise both gay marriage in the US OR accept civil partnerships contracted outside of the US, Yoann had no permanent status in the US.

Yoann sums it up beautifully today on his Facebook page:

“DOMA which did not allow Jason to sponsor me/his husband for immigration purposes (to get a green card) has been declared unconstitutional this morning. That means that in the months to come I should be able to get a green card and that would allow me to leave my job to do what I am meant to do  + it’s a big step for the whole LGBT community as it also affects social security, inheritance, adoption… A big big step for equality and for a lot of loving people.”

I read today that roughly 24,700 other binational same-sex couples can now breathe a sigh of relief (via Think Progress). The thing that I am most proud of is that earlier this years the boys stuck their head over the parapet, met with their senator, and agreed to be interviewed on NPR about their immigration situation in the run up to today. If DOMA hadn’t been repealed, they could have found themselves in a tricky situation, with Yoann’s visa at risk.

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The flag flying proudly over the boys’ home in New Jersey today.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Fousse June 27, 2013 at 01:26

Hurrah!!! So very happy for them as well as all my friends in the US.

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Gina Gill June 27, 2013 at 02:23

I felt something the same when I heard the news…I’ve many gay friends, one of my bestest included. Whilst I’ve always supported the right for anyone to live as they please, I never understood how significant it was that they were denied the right to a recognised marriage. Having gotten married myself last year it dawned on me how much it means in so many aspects of life, and the weight of the rights that come along with it. It is utterly saddening that my bff would is some reality be denied the chance to make a wonderful commitment and create her own family, because whilst commitment ceremonies are beautiful and meaningful, it is so very important to have those rights that I’m sure so many married couples take for granted. Surely if a man was denied the right to a spousal visa because his wife was of a different race would be unthinkable and it’s ludicrous to think marriage between two men or two women in any way diminishes the sanctity of marriage, as ridiculous as believing that people of different cultures, religions or societies should not be allowed to marry. How that seems in any way logical is beyond me.

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Angela June 27, 2013 at 07:56

Sheer joy! I felt tearful just reading this.

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Pierre L'Allier June 27, 2013 at 08:11

This is excellent news, Sasha. Well done to them. I shall celebrabrate by watching videos of Max again…

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CB June 27, 2013 at 08:12

Amen! x

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Pierre L'Allier June 27, 2013 at 08:28

(I won’t be offended if you decide not to publish my comment (because the videos are old, for example). I just think that the moment were Max looks worried when one of the boys dives under the water and disapppears is so lovely!

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Clare (SparklySexyCool.com) June 27, 2013 at 09:50

I remembered ‘your boys’ and your last post when I saw this on the news this morning! What a massive weight must have lifted from them and so many others xx

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Cate Elise June 27, 2013 at 11:52
Ulli June 27, 2013 at 12:02

SUCH exciting news. As an American living in the UK and I just moved last fall…..I wish I was home to celebrate with my friends:) AWESOME.

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Sara June 27, 2013 at 13:26

It is incredibly heartwarming to see this happen. It makes me a little sad because my gay uncle, to whom I was very close, died before this came into being. Gay marriage is still shamefully not legal in Australia but because he was a British citizen, he and his partner were able to have a civil partnership at the British embassy in Sydney and were given a certificate showing that they were the 6th gay couple to do so in Australia. It meant a lot to him to be able to legally partner the man he loved, even if it was only legal inside a few square meters of British land.

Love is love and we all deserve the right to live without impediment with those we choose.

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