Brandon and Luke

A gay South African man and his American partner are fighting to have their marriage recognised by the U.S. government.

Brandon, an American, met South African born Luke in New York in January 2007. They became friends and then fell in love.

They went on to marry, but the marriage is not recognised by the federal government and Luke faces being deported back to South Africa.

The two men have now gone public with their plight in order to fight against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the American law that prohibits their union from being officially recognised.

Brandon has told his and Luke’s story on, a campaign to raise awareness of the impact of DOMA on married gay and lesbian bi-national couples and to bring an end to the discrimination against them.

“I will fight for my right to sponsor my husband for a ‘green card,’ a privilege heterosexual Americans take for granted,” says Brandon on the website.

“…we believe that this is the time to challenge our exclusion from the family-based immigration system that otherwise works reasonably well to keep opposite-sex bi-national couples together.”

Brandon has filed a petition to apply for Luke to be recognised as his spouse, but if this is not successful the couple could be separated.

“We do not want to be forced into exile and we cannot imagine life apart. This means we might have no option but to fight this in the courts and in Congress like so many thousands of gay bi-national couples who have raised the profile of this inhumane and cruel discrimination. Whatever the short-term challenges, we will not allow ourselves to be torn apart by my government,” asserts Brandon.

He adds: “Can a nation’s immigration laws recognize something as simple as true love? We think so. If change comes, Luke will truly be able to live his life to its fullest potential with his husband and best friend. Which will make it all the more possible to take that honeymoon we have been dreaming of.”

DOMA prevents couples in states that recognise same-sex unions from enjoying Social Security spousal benefits, filing joint taxes and benefiting from other federal rights connected to marriage. The 1996 law also allows states to refuse to acknowledge gay marriages performed in other states.

As a consequence of the law, U.S. immigration officials cannot recognise foreign spouses in same-sex marriages. The Obama administration says that it supports the repeal of DOMA and is no longer defending it in court.

Read Brandon and Luke’s

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