On July 26, the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, citing the Defense of Marriage Act, denied John Makk's application for an I-130 visa, a spousal petition seeking permanent residency, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday. DOMA, which became law in 1996, denies federal benefits to same-sex couples.
Makk married Bradford Wells, a U.S. citizen, in Massachusetts seven years ago. He told the newspaper he left Australia to be with Bradford, starting a business in San Francisco and investing in real estate to meet visa requirements. The couple have lived in San Francisco for 19 years.
Makk was ordered to leave the country by Aug. 25. He is the sole caregiver for Bradford, who has AIDS.
"I'm married just like any other married person in this country," Wells said. "At this point, the government can come in and take my husband and deport him. It's infuriating. It's upsetting. I have no power, no right to keep my husband in this country. I love this country, I live here, I pay taxes and I have no right to share my home with the person I married."
"The claimed relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary is not a petitionable relationship," the agency's decision said. "For a relationship to qualify as a marriage for purposes of federal law, one partner must be a man and the other a woman."
"We are appealing to the Obama administration to begin to put into action what they've said repeatedly they can do," said Steve Ralls, a spokesman for the advocacy group Immigration Equality. "The Department of Homeland Security and [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] have said again and again that they can exercise discretion in individual cases, but they have not done so for a single gay or lesbian couple yet."