Today my co-worker, Kate, sent me a link to an article about her high school French teacher. He’s a French national, a community college professor, a Harrisburg resident and the father of four lovely children, all adopted by Frederick and his partner of 22 years, Mark.
This week they had to go to court to defend their marriage of four years in order to prevent Fred’s deportation. While marriage laws are established by the states, along with adoption laws, immigration officials are barred from recognizing the marriages of same sex individuals under the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
From Philadelphia magazine:
But theirs is a story not only about the federal government’s lack of recognition of same-sex marriage, but the legal limbo that it creates for same-sex bi-national couples with children. During the two decades together, they
have adopted four beautiful children. But a patchwork of incoherent legislation means that while they are recognized legally as same-sex adoptive parents in Pennsylvania, the federal government refuses to recognize their marriage.
I hope I don’t have to explain how tragic this is for Fred and Mark’s family. For Fred and Mark all we can do is offer hope, good thoughts, prayers – whatever form of emotional support you can spare. The outcome they hope for at this time is that the immigration office places their case into abeyance for the time being and a federal court rules on the constitutionality of DOMA soon.
But for other families - those with and without children - who might face this battle in the future, we can do more.
- Sign a Change.org petition sponsored by GLAAD to urge the administration to set aside low priority immigration cases until litigation concerning the constitutionality of DOMA makes its way to the Supreme Court.
- Donate money to causes who support marriage equality. Don and I like Freedom to Marry, but the DOMA Project (who first told us the tragic story of Fred and Mark) likes the Love, Honor and Cherish Foundation.
Read more about Fred and Mark (how they met, how they became dads and what it’s like to face down U.S. immigration officials over the validity of your marriage) on The DOMA Project: Stop the Deportations.
Next week I promise to be back with some happy, fun stories.