In the spirit of increasing acceptance and inclusiveness, a prominent Jewish outlet, The Jewish Week, recently sought to feature a gay Jewish couple's wedding announcement, despite previous backlash from the Orthodox community.
The couple they featured was The Tratner-Katz's. Matt (38) and Uri's (31) love story is both beautiful and awe-inspiring. Two Jewish men from opposite sides of the world met through a friend of a friend, and were immediately hooked.
Matt says that in hours, they were inseparable. They began dating and were married in New York a year and a half later.
Matt, a New York native, had always considered visiting Israel, but had never gotten around to it. He finally found his way to Israel on the sad occasion of helping to spread his friend's late husband's ashes. Despite the somber premise of the visit, Matt was determined to not let the trip be only about mourning. By way of a friend of a friend, he was connected to Uri to help him find his way around the vibrant nightlife of Tel Aviv.
Both Uri and Matt admitted to not being immediately attracted to each other, but they also admitted that that quickly changed. The originally platonic friendship rapidly budded into a young, beautiful romance, and the two of them couldn't get enough of each other. By the time that Matt had to leave Israel to go home to New York, they knew that they had something more than a whirlwind "vacationship".
"When you know it's the one," Uri explained, "you just know."
So naturally, Matt immediately booked another trip to head back to Israel. By 3 days in, Uri realized that he might as well have just moved to Matt's apartment in New York and saved him the trip. When you know, you know – and both Matt and Uri knew.
Despite their happy times together, DOMA has prevented the couple from being together. The 1996 federal legislation that forbids marriage equality in the United States not only serves as an issue for the legality of their marriage, it also serves as an immigration issue. Without their marriage being federally recognized, it's a struggle for Uri to obtain a green card, which wouldn't be a problem for a married heterosexual couple.
Despite the problems caused by DOMA, Uri and Matt are living their lives like any happily married couple would. Uri is currently studying computer science at Queens College, and both Matt and Uri get to come home to the perks of a domestic life – a cat, a dog, movie nights, and a crowded Shabbos table.
Both Matt and Uri are starting to warm up to the idea of raising children, and quite like any other married couple, their respective parents are starting to do the same.
The so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" or DOMA unfairly denies federal protections – like Social Security, veterans' benefits, health insurance and retirement savings – to committed LGBT couples who are legally married in their own states. Click here for a detailed FAQ about DOMA.
This month, the Supreme Court is set to rule on this federal injustice.
GLAAD has been at the forefront in the fight for marriage equality, and will continue to be if the Supreme Court chooses to uphold DOMA. See GLAAD's page on DOMA and Prop 8 for more information on the fight for marriage equality.