A reader writes:
I've been reading your blog for about three years now and I've never written in. I've been hoping for so long that somebody would pick up on the tragedy of this part of DOMA, but I've felt a little selfish about it because it involves me too.
In 2005, my dream came true, and I was accepted to Oxford to do my DPhil and granted a pretty nice scholarship to boot. In 2006, I met my partner there, and we had a civil partnership ceremony in 2008. I finished my DPhil in 2009, and I would like to stay in academia; teaching has always been my passion. Unfortunately, there are not so many opportunities for teaching at the university level in the UK, and with the budget cuts - which I understand but loathe - it doesn't look like there are any on the horizon.
For the last two years I have taken some temporary posts, first in Italy, now in the US, and lived apart from my partner. But soon this won't be feasible because my partner will have our child in February. I have published, I have paid my dues, I have done everything I'm supposed to do to get a position in academia in the US, and the truth is that probably I would be able to get one despite the fierce competition here.
The trouble is that my partner cannot come to the States on a spousal visa. So I am left with the horrible decision of giving up on what I love, what I have worked hard for, what I am really good at, and what a lot of people (UK and US governments included) have paid a lot of money for to be with my wife and future child in the UK. I am so desperate for work in the UK now that I applied for two secretarial posts this weekend, but you can imagine that I don't get too many looks because I am "too qualified". To tell the truth, I don't want our daughter (who will be a US citizen from birth thanks to UK law, but anchor babies are myths) to grow up in a country that would treat her parents like this.
I don't think you've picked up on really the cruelest part of all. Some of my friends have said that they will marry my partner in order for her to move to the States. The hard-line right wingers are always saying, "Well, you can have the same rights, you can marry a man." But immigration will care that my partner was married to me. And immigration will care that she does not want nor will ever want to sleep with a man, despite (potentially) marrying one, so it isn't true that you can just "marry a man." They will check to make sure that the two of them are having sex; they will care that they are having sex; the US government will not give her a visa unless they are. So when they say "marry a man", that's not what they really mean.
I don't feel like I've done a very good job explaining the ludicrousness of this part, but Dan Savage had a good post on it a few weeks back. I implore you to continue shining a light on this issue as much as you can.
Don't know if you listen to your local public radio station, but Rebecca Sheir (of WAMU's beautifully revamped Metro Connection show) did a heatbreaking story on The Spousal Diaspora a couple weeks ago. The segment is called "Till Death -- or Deportation? -- Do Us Part".