Last February, GLAAD worked with local and national media to shine a spotlight on the story of Brian & Anton, a loving and committed binational gay couple from Philadelphia who were facing the very real threat of Anton being deported. The couple, who were slated to be separated on Valentine’s Day 2011, fought the measure alongside their attorney, Lavi Soloway. In an encouraging victory over the discriminatory so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), Anton was issued a temporary stay of deportation and was not required to return to his native Indonesia where LGBT people face daily persecution simply for being who they are. The couple celebrated as Anton was temporarily allowed to remain in the U.S. with Brian, the person he loves most in this world.
Energized by the thought of spending the rest of their lives together, Brian and Anton, in the months following Anton’s stay of deportation, pledged their love and commitment for one another in a legal marriage ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Their honeymoon was short lived, however. Despite the fact that President Obama has ordered the Department of Justice to no longer defend the constitutionality of section 3 of DOMA and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s historic announcement that this administration will use “prosecutorial discretion” to set aside low-priority deportation cases, including those involving LGBT families, Brian is once again fighting to keep his husband in the United States. Only three weeks ago, the Obama administration filed a brief in a similar case in California arguing that it is unconstitutional to deny green cards to the spouses of gay Americans, and yet Anton is still scheduled for deportation. On October 7, Brian and Anton will meet in Philadelphia with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officers who must decide whether to take Anton into custody and deport him.
Brian and Anton’s story mirrors that of countless married binational LGBT couples facing the same discrimination in spite of recent governmental action meant to keep families together. It’s important that the media call into question why Brian and Anton are once again facing the possibility of being torn apart when provisions have been made to keep all families together – including those represented by LGBT couples. With October 7 just over two weeks away, GLAAD encourages the media to once again shine a spotlight on the plight of Brian & Anton.