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Texas man separated from husband over holidays by U.S. Law

Married But Separated – Art and Stuart

I am a music teacher in San Antonio, Texas, and have spent much of my
life developing a mastery of the piano, the organ, and the voice.  I
also love computers and online social networks, which is where I
ultimately met my [now] husband, Stuart Metcalfe(-LeSieur).

Three years ago, I found Facebook — and thus a limitless opportunity
to meet all sorts of people from all over the world. I was just coming
out as a gay man and found the freedom of Facebook to be an incredibly
powerful way to explore my emerging identity. As I waded through new
Facebook friends, one in particular caught my attention — Stuart. I
watched a video he had posted to Facebook — complete with charming
British accent, which I immediately recognized after having been
stationed in the United Kingdom while in the military. He was putting
himself down for how he looked on camera, and I wrote back to affirm how
great the video was — beginning an ongoing conversation of texts,
chats, emails, and eventually Skype.

The first time we Skyped, I was so nervous and flustered that the
only thing I could manage to get out was, “Hi! I like Monty Python!”
Stuart was patient with me, suggesting that I might want to check out
some more updated forms of British humor — and thus we began a
friendship based in humor and deep conversations about nearly everything
under the sun. As I went through a painful divorce that summer, Stuart
was one of my biggest emotional supports — and my family soon welcomed
him into the fold through Skype sessions of their own.

We continued to navigate our emerging relationship and tried to
cobble together the money to see and talk with one another across the
distance. I had never thought about the lengths that binational same-sex
couples go to in order to be with one another, and the stress that adds
to new — and even seasoned — relationships. We finally uttered the “L”
word to one another — declaring our love even as Stuart was traveling in
Egypt and I was in South Texas. When Stuart visited me in San Antonio
soon thereafter, I dropped to one knee and asked him to marry me. He
said yes, and we spent the next 19 months trying to figure out how to
navigate the process of getting married in the United States and
building a life here with my children.

My parents gave their blessing whole-heartedly and we married in my
hometown in Massachusetts by a long-time friend of the family. Stuart
can only visit the U.S. twice a year for about three weeks at a time,
and we have no mechanism for him to move here permanently as long as the
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is in place. His visits here require
massive overtime work from him in order to afford each trip and to build
up vacation days to spend with me. Those visits are met with great
anticipation but, even with the joy of his arrival, there is always a
looming sadness that the clock is ticking until his departure. Each time
I drop him off at the airport, it’s like having my entire being ripped
out of my body. Losing my spouse for such long periods of time tears me
apart spiritually and emotionally — our home runs so beautifully when
our children have two loving fathers physically at home, but I become
overwhelmed when I return again to being a single father.

Despite being legally married in the state of Massachusetts, we
cannot apply for a spousal visa so that Stuart and I can build a life
together here in the United States. No marriage should have to endure
this kind of stress and separation simply because of a discriminatory
law. We’re simply asking for a chance to be together and to share the
same civil rights that our friends, neighbors, and family enjoy.
Holidays are especially difficult — it’s hard to decorate the house or
enjoy the season when I’m longing for the day I can wake up early on a
holiday morning to share a cup of coffee with my husband. Until the day
that we truly see equal protection under the law for all, I’m left
holding that cold cup of coffee alone — longing for the warm and loving
home that my husband and I deserve.


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