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Watch: Couple about to be torn apart by DOMA interviewed on MSNBC

DOMA trials

By Adam Bink

Last week, I wrote about Courage Campaign’s and AllOut’s emergency petition to save Henry Velandia and Josh Vandiver from being torn apart because of DOMA. Sec. Napolitano has the power to put a moratorium on such deportations.

Late this week, they were interviewed by MSNBC’S Thomas Roberts:

Over 20,000 have signed this emergency petition and we are planning some, well, interesting actions to make sure DHS sees them next week. Please sign and on the following page, you’ll see one-click share options so you can ask a few friends to do so too. Stay tuned.


  • 1. Alan E.  |  April 30, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Still in class. Here until 5 ugg.

  • 2. Kathleen  |  April 30, 2011 at 2:57 am

  • 3. Ann S.  |  April 30, 2011 at 4:00 am


  • 4. Ann S.  |  April 30, 2011 at 4:01 am


  • 5. Straight for Equalit  |  April 30, 2011 at 8:07 am

  • 6. Sagesse  |  April 30, 2011 at 3:06 am

    They need to just put all DOMA related deportations on hold.

  • 7. Peterplumber  |  April 30, 2011 at 8:36 am

    There is a stay on SSM in California till there is a final ruling in Perry. I know we all want the stay lifted, and DOMA related deportations on hold, but the law is the law. And if we stop having respect for the law, we have chaos. You can see just by looking at the past week or two. The Prop 8 proponents have lost respect for the law, and want everything THEIR way. They don't even know which court they should be submitting their hail mary briefs and motions to. And Olsen just followed suit. You can't expect him to submit to the proper court if they never got the original motion. Chaos ensures…

    They have to continue deporting illegal aliens, whether they are Mexicans, Germans or British. The law as it stand must be upheld.

    Until the law is changed, they have

  • 8. Sagesse  |  April 30, 2011 at 8:58 am

    The difference that I see is that the law gives Homeland Security and the DOJ discretion in immigration matters. They do have the authority to wait until DOMA is settled in court or is repealed.

  • 9. Kathleen  |  April 30, 2011 at 9:59 am

    What do you mean about Olson just following suit, not filing in the proper court and not getting the original motion? Huh??

  • 10. Martin the Brit  |  April 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    With respect, Mr Plumber, I’m a bit confused by your comment to be honest. As Sagesse points out, when it comes to issues of immigration the law is often applied at the discretion of the governing body. I know a recent deportation of a lesbian woman to Uganda was halted in the UK because the serious danger she was likely to face was highlighted by a publicity campaign. The fact is these two are a legally married couple who are being discriminated against. I believe in the rule of law but when the law is so obviously discriminatory and you have no other recourse I really don’t think civil disobedience is beyond the pale.

    “And if we stop having respect for the law, we have chaos.” – All I’m going to say is…Rosa Parks…

  • 11. Franck  |  April 30, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Not only Rosa Parks, but there were also a bunch of British subjects in the late 18th century that rose against a series of unjust laws. When arguing that "the law is the law", you should remember that the United States were technically founded by outlaws.

    – Franck P. Rabeson
    Days spent apart from my fiancé because of DOMA: 1409 days, as of today.

  • 12. Rhie  |  May 1, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Yup. The Revolution was basically a violent coup that lead to a stable government.

    The really interesting part about American law is that speaking out against, protesting against and, in some cases, even refusing to follow a discriminatory law is protected under law.

  • 13. Peterplumber  |  May 1, 2011 at 2:59 am

    Immigration law allows for political asylum, something a gay person from Uganda would be eligible for. But if a British man married an American man from Massachusetts, and his visa ran out and he did not follow proper legal procedure to renew or extend it, then the law allows for his removal from this country.

    Don't get me wrong, I am all for full marriage equality. But we can't bring about change by breaking the law. We need to have the laws changed.

  • 14. Martin the Brit  |  May 1, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Peterplumber, I understand this isn’t the same as an asylum case. The point I (and Sagesse) was trying to make is that the government can and, I think in the case of married same sex couples, should intervene. Of course observing and obeying the law is important, but just how far can LGBT people be expected to bend before they break? I’m afraid I don’t have the pleasure of knowing Franck but according to him he has been separated from his partner for nearly four years. I can’t even imagine how difficult his situation must be, and I could never bring myself to ask him to play nice and abide by the rules while bigoted legislation fucks his life up on a daily basis. I’m not criticising you for your principled position; I’m just pointing out that taking the high road is a luxury that people can’t always be expected to be able to afford.

  • 15. Franck  |  May 1, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Peterplumber, you seem to think that going through the proper procedure automatically implies that your visa will be renewed. It is simply not the case, most of the time.

    You have to realize that all avenues open to us binational couples are at best temporary. You could be talented enough that an employer is willing to go the extra mile to keep you despite the administrative and financial hassle they incur. You could be rich enough to afford being an eternal student… or even rich enough to found a company and hire several employees. If you are neither of those, then it's just a matter of time before you end up on the wrong side of the law, just like Henry and Josh.

    Or you could wait for a solution that is both lawful and non-temporary, and you'll end up just like myself, living 11,000 miles away wondering just why I insist on moving to a country that obviously does not want me.

    The short version is: do not think we're just too lazy to follow the law. If we follow the law, our reward is that we're either kept away or kicked out. Unless you were born lucky, money and talent will solve nothing and only delay the inevitable.

    – Franck P. Rabeson
    Days spent apart from my fiancé because of DOMA: 1409 days, as of today.

  • 16. Rhie  |  May 1, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Franck –

    I am so very sorry. I wish I could do or say something to help in a more concrete way. I hope it helps a little to know you have support here.

    You are absolutely right. Discriminatory law in this country started changing when people stopped following it. No one EVER got rights here by asking nicely and waiting patiently.

  • 17. Ronnie  |  April 30, 2011 at 4:49 am

    Subscribing & sharing……

    One of our straight Allies has been homophobic & religious based threats & now she doesn't feel safe in her own shop alone at night.

    All of this because she chose to give a discount to lesbian moms at her maternity shop.


    unacceptable….. > I …..Ronnie

  • 18. Ronnie  |  April 30, 2011 at 4:52 am

    uuugg…."has been receiving homophobic & religious based threats"……edit…. : / ….Ronnie

  • 19. Rhie  |  April 30, 2011 at 4:52 am


  • 20. Matthew  |  April 30, 2011 at 8:21 am

    These stories are so heartbreaking. It's hard to think of anything more un-American. Well, other than NOM, FRC, and NARTH.

  • 21. Peterplumber  |  April 30, 2011 at 8:38 am

    You just made me puke….

  • 22. Franck  |  April 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I've just been informed that I wasn't selected in the DV lottery, for the fourth time in that many years. Considering that my employer also informed me earlier that they weren't interested in transferring me to their US offices, it means that all the doors to immigrating to the United States within the next 15 months have been pretty much slammed to my face.

    I'd decided that if it happened, I'd pretty much give up on the US altogether, and maybe I should. C will be free to leave the United States starting next year, and I've been ready to leave Madagascar for over five years now.

    We've followed the laws, and all it gave us was years of separation. We can't keep going on like this. Time to look for other, more welcoming countries.

    (Also, I will try not to break down over these news, but I can't promise anything)

    – Franck P. Rabeson
    Days spent apart from my fiancé because of DOMA: 1409 days, as of today.

  • 23. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  May 1, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Hugs and the very best wishes and Karma I can send your way!!!!!! Hope your life is guided in a way that will be best for you. So sorry for your trials Franck.

  • 24. Ann S.  |  May 1, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Hugs to you, Franck.

  • 25. saul balderrama  |  May 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Dear Mr. Plumber:”I(we) know the rules
    But the rules do not know me(us)”.
    The fight is on ,so are our lives.,OUR
    Freedom is never given, it is taken.
    Freedom HERE,NOW,In our lifetime.
    Glod bless you.

  • 26. Peterplumber  |  May 2, 2011 at 12:32 am

    I understand your plight. I sympathize with you. But we can't and shouldn't expect special treatment.
    I have been involved with activism for LBGT rights since DC in '93. All along the fight has been for EQUAL rights, not special rights. The NOMers already complain about us wanting special rights. Don't prove them correct.
    Marriage equality is not about a special right, it is about being equal. Domestic partnership and civil unions were created as a special right for LBGT people. Opposite sex couples are not eligible for either. They were created especially for gay people. We use that to our advantage in trying to secure marriage equality. It is called a special or 2nd class. This 2nd class is treated differently than the 1st class. This is what we use to push for full equality. THEY have put us in this 2nd, lower, class. We want to break out of it and obtain full equality. We will never achieve that if we continue to ask for special rights for our 2nd class status.

  • 27. Franck  |  May 2, 2011 at 12:51 am

    I don't see special rights in there. Josh and Henry are married, not civil-unioned. They're only asking to be treated as any other married couple under the law.

    I'm not asking for a special right either. Just the right to live with my partner, just like his brother and sister-in-law (who, might I say, are in a marriage of convenience). I'm not a lifelong activist who can afford to wait ten or fifteen years before enjoying even a few of my rights. Either my couple will tear itself apart long before that, or I will. I'm already enough of a mental wreck after four years of waiting with no end in sight and no solution I can even work on.

    At this point, I say: screw visitation rights, inheritance rights, tax breaks and all that, I'm not even allowed to live with my partner because that's a "special right" that's less important than semantics. You'll excuse me if I consider that under that logic, bi-national couples aren't even worth second class status.

    – Franck P. Rabeson
    Days spent apart from my fiancé because of DOMA: 1410 days, as of today.

  • 28. Kathleen  |  May 2, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Love and jugs to you, Franck. I'm so sorry you didn't make it in the lottery again this year. It breaks my heart thinking of all the couples in the same position you are.

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