By David Artavia
Originally published on Advocate.com May 15 2013 3:31 PM ET
David and Jason first met in a Los Angeles restaurant seven years ago. On September 7, 2012, they were legally married in New York, but since Jason is from the United Kingdom, it is nearly impossible for him to obtain legal citizenship, because the federal Defense of Marriage Act prohibits gay and lesbian Americans from sponsoring their foreign-born spouses for citizenship. Heterosexual couples in this country are readily allowed to sponsor a spouse for citizenship.
Since they met, David and Jason have been separated 17 times. Each time Jason is allowed to enter the country, it is only as a tourist, with a 90-day visa. The two men have been through enough tearful goodbyes to last them a lifetime.
For decades, same-sex couples have been separated due to DOMA, with one member being forced out of the U.S once their visa expires, then laid at the mercy of their home country to approve their next visa. Many never even get that chance.
The DOMA Project is sharing Jason and David's story, turning grief into advocacy for the repeal of DOMA. Jason and David are the latest binational couple profiled by the DOMA Project in an effort to raise awareness about the exile, destruction of families, and heartbreak caused by DOMA.
Before they were separated for the last time, Jason was hoping to file the H-1B three-year work visa. Days before their anniversary, he found out that he wasn't approved. They still have no idea when they are going to see each other. They've spent nearly every anniversary apart.
Sometime in June, the nine justices of the Supreme Court are expected to decide the fate of DOMA in a case known as Windsor v. U.S. If the court does not find DOMA unconstitutional this summer, David and Jason will be another addition to the thousands of LGBT Americans with exiled spouses living outside the country, with no way of being together.
Watch their heartfelt video here, and have a tissue handy.