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More Than 2,000 Days Trying to “Figure This Out” – Eric and Jon’s Story

9:29 am in Uncategorized by Amos Lim

On June 29, 2006 I boarded a flight to New York’s LaGuardia Airport that would completely change my life. It was not my first trip to New York, but it was my first solotrip. I thought that I may be a little crazy for arranging this trip, but I’m a scientist and a bit of a planner. There is always a Plan B and I will always find a solution.

A few months earlier, several months into my Match.com membership, I had entered a friend’s New York zip code in the search window. One of the very first profiles caught my attention—Asian guy, blue eyes. I have always been drawn to those things that are out of the ordinary. I quickly sent a message, probably something about they eyes, but I don’t really remember.

Later that day, much to my surprise, the blue-eyed Asian boy had replied to my message. We struck up a correspondence that soon moved to video chat – where I learned that the blue-eyed Asian boy looked EXACTLY like his profile!Well, except the eyes…it never occurred to me that people wear colored contacts, but it did not matter.We were finally talking, not just typing, and our first video chat lasted several hours.

Valentine’s Day 2013 marked more than 2,000 days since Jay’s work visa expired and he had to leave the US.

Over the next few months our friendship grew and we began planning a visit. Being a teacher, I had two months vacation, but Jon had just two weeks. We decided to spend a week together in New York at his apartment and I made the flight to LaGuardia. We had agreed to meet at his job, my Plan B being I would go stay with friends if our first meeting in person turned out not to be all that I had anticipated from the months getting to know each other online.

Standing on the sidewalk, in front of Jon’s office building, I nervously dialed his number.I saw a familiar face approach the revolving door, he walked down the steps, gave a big hug, and we had our first kiss. Everything was strangely familiar — we knew a lot about one another from our daily conversations, but had never so much as touched. Nonetheless, I felt as if I had come home after a long trip — my heart felt a great sense of comfort.

The week went by quickly and comfort grew into anxiety as the 4th of July approached—I was going home the following morning. I often wondered how I would know when I fell in love. Although there are many people that I love and care about, what I experienced with Jon was different. Being with him was home. I had found my life partner, and there is no other way to explain it, I simply knew it.

Throwing all caution to the wind, I confessed to Jon that “. . .this may sound completely ridiculous, but I’m falling in love with you.”Thankfully, he did not run! We have been together ever since.

Over the next year and a half we scheduled trips between our respective cities every three weeks.Our daily video sessions grew to include watching TV together, just like my parents have done for the last 40 years. The only difference was that our recliners were in different cities.

One year later, the day before my birthday, I had boarded my flight back to Miami when my phone rang. It was Jon and he was devastated. “I just received a letter and it says that my work visa was not renewed. I have 30 days leave.”

My heart literally sunk.

I quickly shifted into survival mode, calmly responding that we would “figure this out.” That flight to Miami turned out to be infinitely longer than any of my 24+ hour flights to Asia would be over the next several years.

Valentine’s Day 2013 marked the 2033rdday that we have spent trying to “figure this out.” The only thing that stands in our way is a law that does not consider our seven-year commitment equal to my sister’s two- year marriage to her husband.

We are thankful and very fortunate to have two loving and fully supportive families. We have three nephews and a niece that do not know of time when Jon and I were not together. They know that Uncle Eric and Uncle Jon love them and spoil them every chance they get. Our relationship is not odd or unusual to them. What is odd is that we cannot live together—try explaining that to an eight year old! They know that I will be in Asia during the summers and oftentimes we will miss holidays and birthdays while we travel to be with one another.

Well-meaning friends often ask “Why don’t you get married in [New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington or Washington DC]?” Few realize that marriage in those states will only resolve a few state issues. Unfortunately, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) exclusively withholds 1,138 federal rights from same-sex couples, including immigration.

We are hopeful that comprehensive immigration reform will include binational LGBT families. Including the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) would simply acknowledge us as a family and provide the means for us to finally live together. The alternative is to live in exile and leave my family, friends, career, and life that I have built over the last 39 years behind.

We ask all our friends, family, colleagues and allies to help us and other same-sex binational couples. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask to speak with your senators/representative, and encourage them to include the UAFA as part of comprehensive immigration reform. If it is easier, you can email your senators at http://www.senate.gov and representatives at http://www.house.gov.

Forward this story and the others on the Out4Immigrationblog to your network and ask that they do the same.  

Are you a same-sex binational couple? Do you have families / friends affected by this issue? Please contact us at http://bit.ly/O4ICountMeIn if you are interested in sharing your story.

Doctors with Borders – Amanda & Pallavi

9:00 am in Uncategorized by Amos Lim

Pallavi and I met in 1999 when we were students at Whittier College in Whittier, CA. Pallavi was on a student visa. She was a nerdy international student and I was a jock-ish college athlete. We may never have met at a larger school so perhaps our union was destined (cue Pallavi rolling her eyes at me). We were friends at first and kept in touch over the years.

After graduating in 2000, I pursed a naturopathic doctorate degree in Portland, OR. In 2005, I graduated from medical school and shortly thereafter took a research position in the psychology department at the University of Denver (DU), where (coincidentally) Pallavi was earning her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. We became a couple in March 2006 and were married in August 2012 in San Diego, joined by 60 of our closest friends and family.

Pallavi and Amanda are same-sex binational couple forced to make the heart-wrenching decision to live apart due to DOMA and unjust immigration laws.

We legalized our marriage in November 2012 in Vermont.

For the past six years, we have lived together in Colorado, and although Colorado does not recognize our relationship in any way, we have been lucky enough to be spared many of the trials faced by same-sex binational couples. Pallavi has stable employment as a researcher at a Denver-based non-profit institute and her employer has filed for a permanent residency application on her behalf. However, despite living in the U.S. since she was 18 years old, and earning her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in the U.S., Pallavi’s permanent residency application will not be processed and approved for another 7 years. Employment-based permanent residency applications are subject to per-country quotas and the backlog for India will take nearly a decade longer to be processed.

This year I was offered a post-doctoral research fellowship at NYU Langone Medical Center. Due to the fact that our marriage is not recognized by the federal government Pallavi’s status in the U.S. is solely dependent on her current employer. Thus, we are preparing to move apart from one another for an indefinite length of time so that I can pursue the very best option for my career and so that she remains “in status” in the U.S.

If we could file a permanent residency application through marriage, Pallavi would have permanent residency in the U.S. in a matter of months and could more easily switch to an employer in New York City. Yielding to the current laws of this country is threatening our marriage by forcing us to sustain a long-distance relationship living 1,700 miles apart.

I look around at our heterosexual couple friends (some of whom are binational as well) who must make difficult decisions about work and careers and none of them are forced to experience the indignity of separating from spouses because their country doesn’t deem their lives and loved ones to be valid.

I am American. My life’s work (and that of my wife’s) is devoted to improving the lives of other Americans. If being a good citizen means we take care of ourselves, each other, and our communities, then we are good citizens and we belong here together.

Please help ensure that comprehensive immigration reform includes LGBT families – like ours – as proposed by President Obama.

Are you a same-sex binational couple?  Do you have families / friends affected by this issue?  Please contact us at http://bit.ly/O4ICountMeIn if you are interested in sharing your story.

Holding Hands and Praying for Change

9:00 am in Uncategorized by Amos Lim

Richard and I met in February 2002 in Calgary Canada. I am Canadian and Richard is American.

Initially, Richard was going to move to Canada to be with me, Canada has same-sex marriage and gay couples have all the same rights as straight couples. But Richard wanted to keep his job in the U.S., so he was “commuting” between the U.S. and Canada. This became very stressful, especially in the winter, when flights to and from Canada are often canceled die to the weather.

In 2005, I found a job in Sacramento, California. I was under the TN visa (North America Free Trade Agreement). While I worked for this company for 7 years, the company had no intention of sponsoring me for a green card. While I was able to travel in and out of the U.S. on the TN visa, immigration officials often informed me that I should get permanent resident status because they told me that the TN visa could be “dismissed” at any time.

“I don’t think the U.S. government and its current immigration system even understand how forcing us to separate at a time like this is
damaging our lives.”

During this time we tried to live our lives as normally as possible, Richard retired from his job and we bought a house. I kept looking for employment that would lead to a green card and in 2012 I thought I had found this. I started a new job in Southern California working on a project that seemed to have a lot of potential. We put our house up for sale and planned to move to Los Angeles. But – after 5 months, the project ended – and I was without a job and the promise of a green card.


I have now been told that I must leave the US in 30 days, if not I will become undocumented.

My plan is to return to Canada, re-establish my residency and then come back to the U.S. as a visitor in order to complete the sale of our home.

Meanwhile we are living off Richard’s retirement income.

It is a very difficult time for us right now. I don’t think the U.S. government and its current immigration system even understand how forcing us to separate at a time like this is damaging our lives. We have been together for 11 years, overcoming many obstacles, but this is by far the most difficult.

We are holding hands and praying for change – the inclusion of same-sex binationals in immigration reform – which would allow Richard to sponsor me as his partner and keep us together in America.

Are you a same-sex binational couple?  Do you have families / friends affected by this issue?  Please contact us at http://bit.ly/O4ICountMeIn if you are interested in sharing your story.

The Happy Ending Has Yet to Be Written

9:00 am in Uncategorized by Amos Lim

Helen and I met through a fan-based message board for a British television show. At the time I was living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Helen was in Perth, Western Australia, neither of us knowing that the other existed. Through the message board, Helen and I started e-mailing. At first our e-mail conversations were very polite with the usual “What’s your favorite movie?” and “What do you do for a living?” but then it quickly grew into so much more.

Helen and partner

"The stress of having Helen on a work visa here in the States is constant."

After a few weeks of e-mails Helen gathered up the courage to call me (her words, not mine) and from the first “hello” our lives were forever changed. After months of long-distance telephone calls we finally planned to meet in Sydney, Australia.

Our meeting in Sydney was the most amazing experience, it was exciting and comfortable, it was like we had known each other for years, yet there was still that feeling of meeting someone new. After our time together in Sydney Helen came to the U.S. for two weeks and after that visit knew her life was here with me in America. Although it would be hard for her to leave Australia, she flew back and made the arrangements to move to the US.

At that time we had no idea how hard it was going to be getting employment, arranging visas, selling Helen’s home and so forth.

It took us 12 months, a lot of money and a lot of stress to finally get it all sorted. The only thing that kept us both going was the fact that we were in love and that we had each other.

Nothing else mattered.

Helen and I married in a Civil Partnership ceremony in London, England on August 8, 2008. The reasons for choosing London were because of our connection to the British television show that brought us together and also because Civil Partnerships are legal in England and we wanted to be recognized as a married couple. This day was the best day of our lives and every day since has been even more amazing – although we were about to discover how hard it is for a same-sex binational couplet o stay together in America.

Helen had to find a company that would sponsor her so she could stay in the U.S. on a work visa. We investigated student visas, but although my income may have been enough to sustain us, it was not enough to sustain us both and pay for her schooling.

Australia has an E-3 visa, the first visa is good for 3 years, but then you need to have it renewed every two years.

Helen was able to obtain employment from a company willing to go through all the paperwork and expense involved in sponsoring an employee. Her first 3-year visa was approved without any problems, but 3 years goes by quickly and before we knew it, it was renewal time.

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Successful U.S. Businesswoman Forced to Commute to Los Angeles While Family Lives in Exile

5:59 pm in Uncategorized by Amos Lim

crossposted from Out4Immigration’s Blog

American Rita Boyadjian and her German life partner, Mara, met in Cologne, Germany at a European Gay Pride celebration in 2002 while Rita was touring Europe on vacation. They fell madly in love and began a long-distance relationship. After 18-months of flying back and forth every 3 to 4 weeks while visiting on a tourist visa, Mara was able to obtain a student F-1 visa that allowed her to live legally in the U.S. for a four-year Bachelor’s degree program in Los Angeles.

From 2004 to 2008, Mara lived in the U.S. on her student visa. During that time, Rita and Mara bought a five-bedroom home to start their family and had a baby girl. Rita’s entertainment marketing business was thriving, and she created jobs for 20 Californians. The federal government and the state of California also enjoyed Rita’s business success, as Rita paid well over $1M a year in income tax; $250,000 in payroll taxes; $25,000 in City of Los Angeles taxes; and $30,000 in property tax each year.

But the American Dream was about to allude Rita and Mara. Mara’s student visa expired in August 2009, which was also the due date month for their second child. The couple was forced to interrupt the wonderful life they created in Los Angeles, and move to Germany in summer 2009 since the U.S. does not extend immigration rights to American citizens and with same-sex, non-U.S. citizen partners.

Mara (left) and Rita (right) now live in Germany. Rita's Los Angeles-based business created more than 20 jobs for Americans, yet she has been forced into exile to keep her family together.

While Mara tried to pursue another student visa and a work visa, it was simply too difficult to raise a small child and be in the middle of a second pregnancy while going back to school or working full-time.

“I guess you can describe us as a non-traditional family with very traditional family values,” says Rita. “When we decided to have children together, we were committed to raising our children ourselves and not raising them with nannies or putting them in a daycare every day. We did not want other people raising our children so Mara could go to school or work full-time in order to fulfill visa requirements to remain in the U.S. I was earning enough money so that Mara could stay home with our children.”

Rita, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, had no other choice but to sell her L.A. home at a $250K loss and leave her thriving L.A.-based entertainment marketing business, her entire family who all live in Southern California, and three decades of friendships, in order to keep her family together in Germany, because Germany provides immigration rights for same-sex couples. Rita and Mara got married in Germany, and Rita was able to obtain a resident visa to live legally in Germany.

It is now 2013. Rita and Mara live near the city of Cologne, Germany and have three children. They have lived in exile since Mara’s student visa expired.

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Kathy And Ana: Four Weddings on Two Continents, But Still No Recognition by U.S. Government

2:35 pm in Uncategorized by Amos Lim

Ana and I “met” in 2008 while we were both participating in an online book club. Although Ana is a Portuguese national, she currently resides in the United Kingdom. We quickly became friends in the book club and in November of that year, I was fortunate enough to have a business meeting scheduled in London. It was during that trip that Ana and I met face to face for the first time. Although we considered ourselves to be “just friends” for approximately a year after that first meeting, we never went more than two or three days without corresponding with each other. At first it was only by email, but we were soon spending hours on the phone together learning more and more about each other. We quickly realized that our “friendship” was taking a turn and knew we had to meet again. This time it was in New York, where I live. It was clear to both of us that we were falling in love.

In early 2010, Ana flew over and we spent four beautiful days together. It was then that we just knew we were meant to be together forever.

A romantic moment between the couple
Two years after we first met in the book club, on May 6, 2011, Ana and I celebrated our love for each other in front of more than 100 friends and family with a formal commitment ceremony on Long Island, New York. Then in July 2011, we entered into a legal civil partnership in the United Kingdom, celebrating with Ana’s family, who had flown in from Portugal to be with us on that special day.

When New York’s legislators passed the marriage equality bill in June that year we knew we wanted very much to be married so in August we exchanged wedding vows and became legally married! Finally, in November, I went to the Portuguese consulate in New York City to have our marriage officially recognized in Portugal, one of the 15 countries worldwide with equal marriage laws.

In some sense you might say we have now “married” each other four times and our MARRIAGE is now recognized on two continents. Without question, we have the love and support of our friends and family but not the U.S. government.

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Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) for Same-Sex Binationals Introduced in Congress

12:00 pm in Uncategorized by Amos Lim

Bill with Bipartisan Support Would Give Gay and Lesbian Americans with Foreign Spouses Equal Immigration Rights

Media Contact: Amos Lim, Out4Immigration, 415-742-1626, amos@out4immigration.org

SAN FRANCISCO – FEBRUARY 5, 2013 – The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), legislation that would provide gay and lesbian Americans with foreign partners equal immigration rights, was introduced today in the 113th Congress by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

This is the seventh consecutive Congress in which Nadler has introduced this legislation, which typically garners support from Democrats, but never enough for the bill to come up for a vote. This time, however, the bill has two Republican cosponsors, and comes at a critical juncture with comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) on the table.

“Thousands of committed same-sex couples are needlessly suffering because of unequal treatment under our immigration laws,” said Nadler, a long-time champion of same-sex binational couples and their families. While many of these couples are legally married or partnered, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) bars them from receiving federal rights, such as the ability of an American citizen to sponsor a foreign spouse for a green card.

Nadler called this current state of excluding one class of people from equal treatment under the law “an outrage”. While the constitutionality of DOMA is currently in front of the Supreme Court, UAFA could neatly fit into immigration reform overhaul and solve a problem that affects about 40,000 couples – some of whom have been forced to leave the country or overstay a visa in order to avoid being forcibly separated by the U.S. government.

Inclusion in CIR, however, is not without controversy. While President Obama has said that same-sex binational couples fall under the category of family in his immigration reform proposal, current Senate framework omits same-sex binational couples. A Senate hearing on the matter is scheduled for February 13.

Some Republicans have clearly voiced opposition. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a member of the so-called “Gang of 8” senators working on CIR legislation, called including same-sex binationals a “social issue” that should not be part of the discussion. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stated that he would not tolerate Republicans looking for excuses like McCain’s to avoid supporting this legislation.

Reintroducing UAFA with bipartisan support bodes well for the House to support an inclusive CIR bill.

Said Nadler, “Any serious legislative proposal for comprehensive immigration reform absolutely must include gay and lesbian couples and their families.”

Out4Immigration, an all-volunteer grassroots group that works with same-sex binational couples and their families to empower those affected by immigration discrimination to speak out, applauded today’s reintroduction of UAFA, its bipartisan support and the commitment of Rep. Nadler to see this bill become law.

“We hear every day from couples whose lives are torn apart because the federal government refuses to recognize their marriage or permanent partnership,” said Amos Lim, Community Outreach Director for Out4Immigration. “Immigration reform cannot be considered ‘comprehensive’ unless all families are included. All families means just that all families – including those that are LGBT.”

# # #
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For more information:


Out4Immigration: http://www.out4immigration.org
Uniting American Families Act, LGBT Immigration Reform, Maintains Bipartisan Support in House: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/lgbt-immigration-reform_n_2623557.html
Reid Blasts GOP for Blaming Gays on Immigration Bill Resistance: http://www.advocate.com/politics/2013/02/03/watch-reid-blast-gop-blaming-gays-immigration-bill-resistance
Out4Immigration blog (featuring stories of same-sex binationals): http://out4immigration.blogspot.com/
United by Love, Divided by Law (visual protest by same-sex binational couples separated by U.S. immigration laws): http://unitedbylovedividedbylaw.tumblr.com
Count Me In / Same-Sex Binationals Share Their Stories: http://bit.ly/O4ICountMeIn

end
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Out4Immigration is a national grassroots organization dedicated to raising awareness about the discrimination same-sex binational couples face under current U.S. immigration law and the difficulties they encounter in keeping their families together legally in this country. For more information, visit www.out4immigration.org.

Peace Corps Volunteer Asks Congress to Pass Inclusive Immigration Reform

4:03 pm in Uncategorized by Amos Lim

After Giving Two Years of His Life to the Peace Corps, Former Volunteer Wants to Spend Rest of His Life with Ecuadorian Partner

Ever since I was a kid, the holidays were a blur of good food, family, and friends. Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas were always reminders to be thankful for what we had and share with those we love. This year, Raul and I have much for which to be grateful. For the first time since 2009, we will be sharing Christmas together. After more than a year of living in different countries, we now live under the same roof, sharing the same meals, and making friends in a new city and country—the United Kingdom, our new home.

Brad&Raul

Raul and I first met during my service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Southern Ecuador. I was working as a social worker in a rural highland community. I still remember getting that first flirtatious text message, thinking “he’s surely exaggerating his positive qualities”. Fortunately, he wasn’t! Raul really is the sweet, caring, and handsome man he said he was. After some initial hesitation on my part, we started a relationship that continues to this day, nearly three years later. For the rest of my time in the Peace Corps, Raul and I were nearly inseparable. He would often visit me and my host family in the parish where I lived. We would travel Ecuador together on vacations, visiting friends and his family on the coast.

As my service experience drew to a close in mid-2010, we started to explore our options. We both wanted Raul to meet my family over the holidays as I’d had the chance to visit his on many occasions. Sadly, Raul’s application for a visitor’s visa to the US was denied, in part because he did not have enough assets to convince the immigration officer of his return to Ecuador and in part because he was honest about our relationship during his interview. I still remember the day Raul called me with the bad news. He was devastated, and there was nothing I could do to comfort him that day. I promised I would save up and return to Ecuador if he could not see my family for the holidays.

I returned to Ecuador at the beginning of 2011 to work as a field consultant with a social enterprise initiative, earning just $200 per month. We also opened a small café/bar together in the hopes that it would improve his chances of eventually visiting my family in the US. During the next 8 months, the two of us worked hard at our day and night jobs. We were poor and tired, but at least we had each other. Acting on pro-bono advice from Lavi Soloway of the DOMA Project (www.domaproject.org) we prepared for Raul’s next visa application by securing invitations, bonds, and letters of support from family and government officials, including my Congressman at the time, Bruce Braley. We knew that chances were slim that Raul would be granted a visitor’s visa, but we had to try. My grandparents were going to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and it was the perfect way to meet my extended family. On what I would describe as one of the happiest days of my life, Raul’s application for a visitor’s visa was granted. It was just short of a miracle.

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Texas Man Separated From Husband Over Holidays by U.S. Law

5:11 pm in Uncategorized by Amos Lim

Texas Man Separated From Husband This Holiday Season Due to U.S. Law
Binational Same-Sex Couples to Congress: “Enact LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Reform!”

SAN ANTONIO, TX — As Americans across the country prepare Thanksgiving dishes and celebrate the holiday with family, some Americans are forced to observe the holiday alone — separated from their loved ones by U.S. law. Art, an American citizen, and Stuart, a citizen of the United Kingdom, are just one example of a couple struggling to stay together despite an unfair and unjust combination of U.S. marriage and immigration laws.

For over 36,000 binational same-sex couples, holidays are times of sadness and loneliness, as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans are prohibited from sponsoring their same-sex partner for immigration purposes by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Despite the White House’s refusal to defend the law in court, Congressional Republicans have spent $1.5 million defending the law in 14 pending cases — hitting the spending limit set forth with the approval of the Committee on House Administration (link).

This holiday season, GetEQUAL and Out4Immigration are publishing the stories of just a few of the thousands of couples directly impacted by this discriminatory law, and who could be immediately helped by passing an LGBT-inclusive comprehensive immigration reform bill. Recently, Democrats and Republicans in both the House and the Senate have talked about introducing a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the new Congressional session — and tens of thousands of couples’ lives hang in the balance as those negotiations begin.

Below is the story of Art and Stuart, a couple united by love but divided by law:

Married But Separated – Art and Stuart

I am a music teacher in San Antonio, Texas, and have spent much of my life developing a mastery of the piano, the organ, and the voice.  I also love computers and online social networks, which is where I ultimately met my [now] husband, Stuart Metcalfe(-LeSieur).

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Please consider supporting Entry Denied – a documentary about same-sex binational couples!

2:27 pm in Uncategorized by Amos Lim

Dear Family, Friends and Allies,

Entry Denied is a documentary currently in post production about 3 same-sex binational couples as they navigate the discriminatory immigration laws in the United States to try to stay together.  Currently, because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the US federal government does not recognize the relationship of same-sex couples and therefore cannot confer any rights of a married couples to them.  This means that a LGBT American is unable to sponsor their partner/spouse for a green card just like their heterosexual brothers and sisters, even if they are legally married in the 6 states & 1 district in this country.

Machu Latorre, the director of the documentary has been working on this project for the past 10 years.  She has followed 3 couples through the ups and downs as they navigate the discriminatory immigration policies that will not recognize their relationship.  As the years go by, their stories unfold to the point that today, one couple is currently living in exile in Vancouver, one couple maintains a long distance relationship and one couple has been able to stay in the US.

GLAAD recently featured this documentary in their blog and you can read about it here.

Machu has been mostly self-financing this project for the past 10 years with some assistance from fundraisers and small grants.  She has started a kickstarter campaign to raise $15,000 for post production costs last month.  If you are unfamiliar with what a kickstarter campaign is, they are basically a crowdsourcing site where the filmmaker set a target amount that they needed to raise and they have 30 days to raise that money.

Entry Denied as a project WILL ONLY BE FUNDED IF AT LEAST $15,000 IS PLEDGED BY SATURDAY OCT 8, 1:02PM PDT.

In the last 25 days, the project has raised about $12,800 and is just $2,200 shy of the goal of $15,000.  The project now has 5 MORE DAYS to reach the goal or it will not be funded.

I am writing to you personally to ask that you consider donating at least $10 towards the project.  Most of you are familiar with the immigration struggles that Mickey and I have to go through.  I am one of the lucky few that actually got my green card through the good will of my employers but the struggles and the fight is not over yet for my same-sex binational brothers and sisters!

For far too long, we have always complained that our issues are always ignored or often not talked about in the media or in the public.  However, with the recent changes made by the Dept of Homeland Security to start using “prosecutorial decisions” in deciding whether or not to pursue the deportations of undocumented immigrants on a case-by-case basis as well as the fact that the Obama Administration has determined that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)is unconstitutional and that they will not defend it in court, I feel that it is an important time for the documentary to be released to shed more light on this issue.

Coupled with the book, Torn Apart, by Ms Judy Rickard (if you have not read it, you need to buy a copy and read it! Our story is in there!) – I feel that both projects will be a good education tool for us to outreach to the public and our legislators about the need to change the laws, whether it is to pass the Uniting American Families Act, repeal DOMA or pass an inclusive Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill that includes LGBT Families.  It is past time for congress to address this issue because each day that they fail to address this issue, another family is being torn apart by being forced to choose between love or country!

This project also has the support of Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman, serving as Executive Producers.  Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman have been making films together since 1987, starting with Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature (1989). This was Rob’s second Oscar, having previously won for The Times of Harvey Milk (1984). Their other collaborations include The Celluloid Closet (directing Emmy, 1996) and Paragraph 175 (Sundance directing award, 2000). HOWL, their first scripted narrative feature (starring James Franco), premiered at Sundance and Berlin and is the recipient of the 2010 National Board of Review’s Freedom of Expression Award.

Please seriously consider donating to support the documentary and have us bring this very important documentary to the world!  And if you have already donated, a BIG Heartfelt thank you from the Lim Family!

Thank you!

Information and Links:

Entry Denied – a Documentary by Machu Latorre:
Kickstarter Campaign: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1389513043/entry-denied-a-documentary-film-by-machu-latorre
Website: http://www.entrydeniedmovie.com/
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#%21/Entry_Denied
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Entry-Denied-film-by-Machu-Latorre/227900400554704

A NEW FILM, “ENTRY DENIED,” EXPOSES INEQUALITY FACED BY BINATIONAL LESBIAN AND GAY COUPLES, GLAAD - http://www.glaad.org/blog/new-film-entry-denied-exposes-inequality-faced-binational-lesbian-and-gay-couples

Entry Denied – A Documentary about Us, Out4Immigration - http://out4immigration.blogspot.com/2011/09/entry-denied-documentary-about-us.html

Same Sex Binational couples struggles for equality in new documentary, Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/glbtq-issues-in-national/same-sex-binational-couples-struggles-for-equality-new-documentary

Marriage Equality USA http://www.marriageequality.org/films

The Immigration Closet, Gender Across Bordershttp://www.genderacrossborders.com/2011/09/19/the-immigration-closet/

Donations sought for film on same-sex binational couples, Bay Area Reporterhttp://ebar.com/blogs/?p=2956