One year ago today, April 6, 2011, Karin and I were married in West Dover, Vermont. It was sweet and private and wonderful. We eloped and were welcomed with loving hearts by the folks at The Inn at Mount Snow. But today, as we realize we have been married for a year, we are still legal strangers to the U.S. government. That means when I pick up my tax returns today, for example, I will have papers that report me as married, filing separately, for the State of California levy and papers that report me as single for the U. S. Internal Revenue Service levy.
I never mind paying my taxes. All citizens should. But I do resent paying 100% of taxes and not getting 100% of rights. If I participate 100% in responsibilities, I think it only fair I get 100% of rights. Some people say LGBT folks are always looking for special rights. I disagree. In this case, as in others, straight Americans get the special rights – without even realizing it I am sure.
So Karin and I will have an anniversary dinner, after I get the tax returns and she does her volunteer work with a first grade class taught by our friend Mary Jo. Just a normal day for us – we who live anything but a normal life.
For those observing Passover today, have a blessed one. For those looking forward to Easter on April 8, have a blessed one. Karin and I will visit the cemetery tomorrow and take an Easter lily to my folks’ grave. In my life before Karin, Mom and Dad went through a lot to keep up with me and learn about what I was becoming and going through. They never saw the last decade (Dad) or two decades (Mom) and have missed much, including my relationship with Karin and all that has entailed in terms of legal and political efforts – besides just us being us.
So as you participate in this time of renewal, Spring or religious observations, please think of LGBT binational families, who just want to be together and safe from government issues. I can list names, but if you have been following me or have read my book, you know several. Many have found me and we are Facebook friends, or people follow me on Twitter or share their blogs with me. I have been so blessed to find strength and support from them and to share their pain and fear – and joy, when it comes.
Thanks to JuanCarlos, who first alerted me via Facebook that Elizabeth Gilbert knew our issue and had suffered from the straight couple version of it. And thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert for her advocacy for us and her idea that I could write the book I wanted her to write. Those two are responsible for how things have unfolded for me and for us for the past two years, and I have been lucky to have met them both.
Thanks to Amos Lassen for my first book review. That was a huge thing to see my work reviewed by a seasoned reviewer. And thanks to all who have bought my book, shared their copy, checked it out of their library, and bought one to give to their library. Wow!
Thanks to those who work so hard for all of us, too – Immigration Equality, Out4Immigration, Love Exiles Foundation, Stop the Deportations – the DOMA Project, DeVote Campaign, Lavi Soloway, David W. Ross and his upcoming movie I Do: The Movie, Machu La Torre and her upcoming movie Entry Denied and others I can’t name here. So appreciate all you are doing and who you are.
And thanks to all the media folks who have interviewed us and helped push our story – starting with Thierry Bogliolo and all those at Findhorn Press and continuing through the list of radio and print and online reporters and publishers – so many, it’s overwhelming. Every time you read about our story and our issue, it helps educate and advocate and we are so grateful. Every time you buy a copy of my book it raises funds for the groups who work for our solution and we are so grateful.
Thanks to Gail Torr and Andrew Oldershaw and Joey Morton who got our story to media and to all those brave families who shared their stories in Torn Apart: United by Love, Divided by Law – check the book for the list. Read a free excerpt at:
And special thanks to those who have lead with legislation to remove the immigration problem we have: Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Robert J. Menendez, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Representative Luis Gutierrez, and our special local hero, Representative Mike Honda and all those who have co-sponsored Uniting American Families Act, Respect for Marriage Act and Reuniting Families Act. We have the greatest respect for your efforts and appreciate you swimming against the current for so long for all of us.
I am adding thanks to President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton for things that are evolving and in process. We are the beneficiaries of baby steps to equality and we couldn’t be happier – unless the baby steps turned into a fast sprint. That is what we hope for, every day…and so do so many others.
So Happy Anniversary, Karin! I love you! What an interesting life we are having, eh?
And, as usual, I have my sign-off message…
Immigration Equality, Out4Immigration and Love Exiles Foundation are the three groups working on our issue – and the three groups who receive whatever money comes in from sales of my book, Torn Apart: United by Love, Divided by Law, Findhorn Press, 2011.
My newer project, with David W. Ross, whose new film “I Do: The Movie” will be out in June 2012, is a portrait project of LGBT binational families, United by Love, Divided by Law Portrait Project. It expands the reach of my book and will keep adding portraits as we find couples and funds to add more. We will hold events to assist the work being done for our families by Lavi Soloway and Stop the Deportations – The DOMA Project. Check out the site at
and see the Facebook page at
To follow Torn Apart: United by Love, Divided by Law, go to its Facebook page at:
Read an excerpt of my book at this link: http://bit.ly/eIyGxh
Order online from the publisher at this link:
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the foreword to my book. She is an ally in our fight and has suffered from the immigration situation herself as part of a binational relationship. Though she and her boyfriend were able to marry, they know what the drill was and they advocate for LGBT binational families. We like that!
Remember, too, you can follow me and what I am doing and thinking and reading on twitter @tornapartbook