By Albert Angulo
Washington D.C., June 2012, the department of homeland security denied immigration benefits to a married gay couple from San Francisco and ordered the expulsion of a man who is the primary caregiver to his AIDS-afflicted spouse.
Bradford Wells, a U.S. citizen, and Anthony John Makk, a citizen of Australia, were married seven years ago in Massachusetts. They have lived together for 19 years, and The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denied Makk’s application to be considered for permanent residency as a spouse of an American citizen, citing the 1996 law that denies all federal benefits to same-sex couples.
The decision was issued. Immigration Equality, a gay-rights group that is working with the couple, received the notice and made it public. Makk was ordered to depart the United State. Makk is the sole caregiver for Wells, who has severe health problems.
“I’m married just like any other married person in this country,” Wells said. “At this point, the government can come in and take my husband and deport him. It’s infuriating. It’s upsetting. I have no power, no right to keep my husband in this country. I love this country, I live here, I pay taxes and I have no right to share my home with the person I married.”
“Anyone can identify with the horror of having the government come in and destroy your family when you’ve done nothing wrong, and you’ve done everything right, followed every law,” Wells said.
As a result of the heated debate over gay marriage, a majority of Americans are now moving to a middle ground in favor of a civil union for couples of the same sex. Recent polls have found that 54 percent of respondents favoring civil unions for gay and lesbian couples with 42 percent opposing them. In a poll conducted in July 2003, 57 percent opposed civil unions and 40 percent favored them.
Ultimately, regardless of how the gay marriage issue develops, it is hoped that people will realize that same-sex partners who are committed to and love each other are prevented from doing so only because one partner happens to be from a foreign country. I believe the US should grant equal immigration benefits to same-sex couples as they would to couples of the opposite sexes. Fifteen other countries grant such benefits. There is no reason for the US not to do so as well.