Obama Administration Should Allow Gay Man to Stay in U.S. to Care for His AIDS-afflicted Spouse

by Community Change | August 11, 2011 12:00 am

The Couple is Legally Married but Administration Says They Have no Rights

August 11, 2011

WASHINGTON—Community Change today urged the Obama Administration to intervene and allow a gay man, who is the primary caregiver to his AIDS-afflicted spouse, to remain in the United States.

Immigration officials have denied a request for spousal residency from Anthony John Makk and Bradford Wells. Makk, who is from Australia, was told he must leave the U.S. on Aug. 25.

“The couple is legally married and should be granted all the rights that heterosexual married couples enjoy,” said Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change. “This is a couple that has been together for 19 years. They pay joint taxes and have followed every immigration regulation to the letter. The Obama administration should allow Anthony John Makk to stay here and take care of his spouse. To separate them would be a great hardship.”

The couple was married in Massachusetts on July 22, 2004. Makk has been living in the U.S. on legal visas but was denied a green card on July 26. Why? Immigration officials said they were just following the guidelines of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman only.

The couple has pleaded with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and President Obama to intervene. So far they have been met with silence. In February, Attorney General Eric Holder said he and Obama view DOMA as unconstitutional on equal protection grounds and would no longer defend it in court.

“The Obama administration should exercise discretion in this case and intervene,” Bhargava said. “It is clear that this couple takes the ‘in sickness and in health’ part of marriage very seriously. To separate this couple would constitute a grievous moral wrong.”

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Community Change is a national nonprofit that strengthens the leadership, voice and power of low-income communities and communities of color nationwide to confront the vital issues of today and build the social movements of tomorrow.

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