Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another Side of Our Stories: A US Navy Veteran Speaks Out

by Robert S.*

I am a US Navy Veteran, having served my country in the Submarine Service during the Vietnam era. I was married for thirty seven years, and I have two daughters by that marriage. I am a professional, and I have started, and run two successful corporations. I am now divorced and retired. I have also run for public office several times in California, but never elected. I am a Libertarian.

About a year ago, I sought the companionship of a man from the Philippines who identifies as a woman. She is honest, professional, and very warm and friendly. Over time, this is relationship has grown. I have visited the Philippines three times and we have fallen in love. We want to live our lives together in my country, the United States, .but in an attempt to get my partner to the USA, we have applied for a tourist visa, and were promptly denied. In an effort to gain my partner a visa, we have since purchased a small piece of land in a northern province on which we intend to build a modest house. My partner has also since traveled to various Asian countries to get as many passport stamps as possible... something I found that is a basic necessity to get a tourist visa. So, with a job as a school-teacher, money in the bank, health insurance, travel experience, land, and a small house... it is possible (maybe) for my partner to ultimately get a tourist visa, but not very likely. We communicate daily via computer. It is heartbreaking.

My close friends have been totally supportive. That was a real help for me, as I really didn't know how they would react. My Navy buddies understand completely, and are a tremendous emotional boost.

I have sufficient income and savings to easily sustain us both in the United States, where we intend to settle in Florida. I have written to my congressman, and senator to try and gain some favor in getting the Uniting American Families Act passed. I still can't believe that my country would go out of its way to pass the Defense of Marriage Act... a horrible piece of legislation specifically targeting couple from being equal.

A better name for DOMA would be the "Denial of Homosexual Marriage Law". The law is in no way a promotion or defense of marriage. In fact, it specifically denies people who want to be married the right to do so solely because of their sexual orientation. This is a law that prevents marriages rather than preserving them.

As time goes on and my partner and I continue to be separated by these unjust laws, I contemplate the painful decision of leaving the country I proudly served to be with the person I love. I can only dream of the day when my rights are as equal as those of everybody else. As a white male, who previously identified as heterosexual, I now emmpathize with those who went down the road before me... the Irish, Blacks, Jews, Asians, Catholics, and anybody else who has been shunned by our society. I was told that if gays were allowed to marry, they would attack traditional marriages. All I can ask is, "What planet did you come from?"

It's time to get with the program. The whole idea that my country has turned against me makes me sick... especially after I offered my life for my country in countless thousands of hours of harrowing and dangerous scenarios for what amounted to a very small amount of compensation.

My story is different from many of those I’ve read about same-sex binational couples, but it is not unique. The bottom line is that I have found the person I want to share the rest of my life with and I want to share my life with this person in my country. No American should be denied this basic right.

*Note: Robert is not this person's real name. He has asked to remain anonymous. Still, his story is very powerful and we encourage you to tell yours. Whether you are comfortable publishing your names and photos or would prefer to remain anonymous, Out4Immigration respects all requests. Our stories are our most powerful tools to getting the law changed. Tell us yours. Email

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