My brother, a 26 year old American, accomplished poet, adjunct professor at a local community college, and all around amazing person, is going to say goodbye forever to the love of his life next week. Why? Because my brother is in a same-sex relationship in a country whose policies are hostile to equality for LGBT individuals.
My brother Mike met his love, Mehmet, almost 3 years ago in Philadelphia. Since then, they have shared what I can only describe as a "classic romance." They are so happy together, and it makes me smile just to think of the joy that Mehmet has brought to my brother’s life over the past 3 years.
Unfortunately for Mike, his partner, Mehmet, is a Turkish Cypriot in the United States on a student visa. Mehmet is one smart cookie, having obtained multiple masters degrees during his nearly decade long tenure in the US. His accomplishments here have been numerous and he has managed to really give back to the people who have given him these opportunities. Mehmet is kind of person the US should be fighting to keep. He’s a real scholar and a gentle soul who will undoubtedly make a huge contribution to our society. Unfortunately, his student visa is about to run out and he is going to be mandated to leave. Mike and Mehmet have seen immigration lawyers and have come to the unfortunate conclusion that there are few options. They don't have the requisite tens of thousands of dollars it would cost to fight this, even then without any guaranteed outcome. However, if Mike and Mehmet were an opposite-sex couple, they could marry and stay together through the power of government contractual recognition of their love and commitment to one another.
Because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, even if they did marry in one of the northeastern states that is not hostile to marriage equality, the Federal government still wouldn’t recognize their marriage and Mehmet would be forced to leave. His only other option would be to seek asylum since he would face incredible hardship in Cyprus because of his sexual orientation, should he come out to his family. But then he would have to give up ever seeing his home or family again. So his choices are to give up his family and home, or give up his love.
How barbaric. How unfair!
It simply breaks my heart to watch my brother in agony over the fact that his love, his partner, will be ripped from his arms and from our shores, when it wouldn’t have to be this way for any straight couple. The DoMA is an abomination to human rights and equality, and it is a stain on the very soul of America.
Though it is too late for my brother, please write to your Congresspeople to do all in their power to repeal this law, if not for Mike and Mehmet, than for the goodness and love that rests in your own hearts.