Candidate’s Partner May Be Deported Due to DOMA (VIDEO)


Congressional candidate Mike Williams, who is running for Congress in Connecticut’s 5th district, has spoken out about how his foreign born same-sex partner Bart Hoedemaker may soon have to leave the country because of the restrictions they face as a result of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Speaking in an interview for MSNBC, Williams discusses how even though he and Hoedemaker, born in the Netherlands, are in a long-term relationship, they have been advised that due to DOMA they may be better off not marrying because of the way the federal government would treat their relationship and Hoedemaker’s application.

Hoedemaker’s visa is up at the end of September when his employment contract is up, and the couple now face being separated because of the legal barriers DOMA creates.

(Just a couple of clarifications on the above: the Obama administration no longer defends Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in court but the act has a number of parts, so this is not the same as saying it will not defend the entire act. The administration, regardless of this, will continue to enforce the rule until it is struck down by the courts or retired by Congress.)

More from an earlier interview with Raw Story in which the couple discusses their impending troubles:

Hoedemaker said, “With Michael’s job and running for Congress, we really can’t do anything remotely illegal,” so even though the Administration is no longer strictly enforcing the law, the couple faces a long-distance separation 10 days after Hoedemaker’s job ends at the end of September. “I’ve lived here for three years, and it’s impossible to pack up your life in 10 days,” he said — but skilled workers like Hoedemaker, a horse trainer whose visa is sponsored by his employer, have exactly that long to leave the country voluntarily after their jobs end.

“Most people don’t realize about DOMA, they think, well, you’re married in Connecticut, it’s fine, and they’re shocked to find out that it doesn’t matter,” said Williams. But no matter what the Administration does about enforcement, Williams cannot sponsor Hoedemaker for a green card — a right Williams’ sister will soon exercise on behalf of her Argentinian fiancé. Without a green card, not only could Hoedemaker’s status be subject to the whims of a new Administration or a Congressional action, he would not be eligible to work.

[Read more here.]

The Obama administration recently announced a shift in immigration policy to concentrate on high priority deportation cases. This would help prevent same-sex couples who meet all other legal requirements for citizenship being separated, the administration said.

The Obama administration has also recently withdrawn from a number of deportation cases where binational couples have appealed their deportation orders. This, however, is a last minute reprieve and while welcome carries inherent stresses and difficulties and does nothing to remedy the underlying problem of how DOMA and therefore the federal government treats same-sex couples.

Related Reading:

Immigration Officials Drop Gay Deportation Case

Judge Reschedules Married Lesbian’s Deportation Case

S.F. Gay Couple Lose Immigration Battle

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to alex-s.

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SeattleAnn S.
Ann S.4 years ago

Well spoken Mike Williams. Best of luck on your run.

Jane H.
Jane H.4 years ago

Please......end the Defense of Marriage Act ! Just do it.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin4 years ago

Thank you Bill Clinton for giving us DOMA and DADT! Now DADT is history, no thanks to you, and I hope soon DOMA will be dug down deep at a landfill never to be seen again!

Lilithe Magdalene

And when DOMA is repealed, may the freedom it brings squash all of those silly little bigoted states who want to codify a ban against same sex marriage - like NC.

Lilithe Magdalene

Lets get rid of DOMA so that we can kick the butts of all of the states like NC that want to encode a same sex marriage ban.

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Linda Tonner
Linda Tonner4 years ago

This probably has little to do with the couple in question, but I just want to tell you that it's not so easy, even for straight couples. A friend of mine married an American, and a few years later, they were asked to produce all their love letters and other correspondence to the Immigration officials, who were suspicious that even though these folk were still together, the 'foreigner' had probably done it for convenience, and citizenship.

I am happy to say that they celebrated their 30th anniversary last year!!!!!!!

So knowing how difficult it can be, I am thinking good thoughts and only the BEST for the young couple in the article. Compassion is not rule #1 in this country.......... yet! Let's keep hoping.

Barbara S.

I am so dismayed at the heartlessness of so many Americans. What happened to us? Why have we become so petty? Obviously it's not just about DOMA and people against LGBTs. People don't want to have to CARE about anyone else, anymore! Our Nation was once so much better than this.

Joslynne Davidson

Rob D: it doesn't work that way. You don't just 'apply for a green card from overseas" or from within the country either. Much much more complicated than that. The employer should have applied for a H1-B which is convertible-if he was able to do that. Sounds like the H1-B was not a visa for which he qualified. This is both a DOMA and an immigration issue. Same sex partners do not qualify for immigration benefits...

Tom Y.
Tom Y.4 years ago

Good call, Rob D.!