Day of Decision Op-ed: When a Marriage Would Split Us Up

By Tom Wolfe

Originally published on Advocate.com June 19 2013 3:00 AM ET

It is quite simple for Jiancheng and me. On that day we will move forward with the joy of being able to plan our future together as any couple would, or we will continue to be frozen in the hell of not being legitimate or able to assure our legal standing in the freedom that my government promises.

Jiancheng (Jaycee) is a 23-year-old Chinese student here in the U.S. working on his doctorate in chemical engineering at the University of Delaware. I am a 56-year-old information services analyst with over 35 years of health care and patient care experience. We met online. Then we met in person and began a wonderful and loving relationship. We are totally committed to each other. We have been together for three and a half years and plan on many, many more. We planned a civil union here in Delaware but then started reading about and understanding how the Defense of Marriage Act would affect us.

Jaycee and I wish to marry. We love each other. If the Supreme Court does not grant equal marriage rights to same-sex couples, then Jaycee and I cannot go forward with our lives. Under the Defense of Marriage Act, even if Jaycee and I were to become legally married here in Delaware, the next time Jay left this country to return to China to be with his family at his brother's wedding, his student visa would be invalidated when he tried to return to the United States.

If we were married, he would be unable to apply for a green card, as our marriage would not be recognized under DOMA. Additionally, being married would imply to the U.S. federal government that Jay had intentions of residing permanently here in the U.S.

I would then have to relocate to China in order to continue our day-to-day life. I would give up being close to my existing family and give up my career here just to be with him, but it is a high price to pay when my country should allow me the freedom to marry whomever I wish to.

I pray that SCOTUS makes the right decision and that DOMA is struck down as unconstitutional.

Jiancheng and I just want to be able to make our relationship legitimate and secure his ability to stay with me here in the United States.

 

TOM WOLFE is an information services analyst.