As ThinkProgress has often reported, many binational gay couples live in constant fear of being separated by deportation because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevents the federal government from recognizing their relationships. But for one San Francisco couple at least, the story has a happy ending, thanks to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Pelosi personally intervened on behalf of two of her constituents, Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk, a couple who have lived in San Francisco’s Castro District for the better part of 19 years and were married in Massachusetts in 2004:
Makk is an Australian citizen who was facing deportation after the couple was denied spousal immigration benefits under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which blocks federal benefits to same-sex couples.
Wednesday the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sent the couple a letter that they have been granted a two year deferred action on deportation. Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, personally intervened on behalf of the couple to ensure that Makk could stay in the country.
“The positive resolution of Anthony’s immigration petition is a personal victory for Bradford and Anthony, and keeps this loving couple together,” Pelosi said in a statement. Pelosi told the couple about the ruling herself Wednesday.
According to Metro Weekly, Pelosi also noted the broader implications of the case: “Anthony would have faced deportation because of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, even though he has lived in the United States for more than 20 years, has no criminal history, has never lived here illegally and is the primary caregiver to his husband.”
She applauded the recent efforts of the Obama administration to close many low-priority immigration deportation proceedings, including those against same-sex couples. Pelosi also pledged to fight for the full repeal of DOMA, which continues to keep many other binational gay couples in legal limbo.