Gay San Francisco Couple Granted Deportation Reprieve


Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk, a bi-national same-sex couple who are married and have spent most of their 19-year relationship in the San Francisco’s Castro district, have won a two year reprieve against the threat of deportation.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

“We’re still dizzy from the news,” said Makk, 49. “We are elated.”


“I’m relieved, really excited and relieved,” said Wells, 56. “I am so grateful I don’t have to worry about Anthony being taken out of the country.”

The couple’s plight, first covered by The Chronicle in June, triggered international media attention.

On Wednesday, the Department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a letter to Makk saying he has been granted “deferred action” on his case for two years. The agency said the stay is “an exercise of prosecutorial discretion” that allows the agency not to pursue deportation for a specific period.

This comes after a concentrated public outcry and a political effort from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and state Sen. Mark Leno, who helped the couple pursue all legal avenues to ensure that Makk, an Australian citizen, may stay in the U.S. and continue being the primary carer for his partner Wells who suffers from AIDS-related illnesses.

Makk was denied consideration for a green card because under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) his marriage to Wells is not recognized by the federal government.

Despite DOMA, Makk met the other conditions for residency and thus, according to immigration guidelines issued last year, his case could be deferred so that other priority deportation cases could be heard. These criteria include family ties, lack of criminal record and a prolonged period of legal residence. Makk’s status as Wells’ primary care giver was also taken into consideration.

It has been reported that it was in fact Nancy Pelosi herself who broke the news to the couple, whereby she also issued a statement saying this was a “personal victory” for the couple and that she would continue to fight for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.

As mentioned above, this is not a permanent fix for the couple but the reprieve will hopefully allow them more time to explore their legal options while the fight to repeal DOMA and the denial of federal recognition continues.

Related Reading:

How does DOMA Hurt Same-Sex Couples?

Bankruptcy Court: Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional

CREW Files Ethics Complaint Against Boehner Regarding DOMA Defense

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

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Chad A.
Chad Anderson3 years ago

Congratualtions and thanks for a little justice. Why should same-sex couples have to deal with layers of bigotry (even in law, no less) on top of all of the other life hardships everyone faces?

James Campbell
James Campbell3 years ago

Rob D.
“if he was trying to come to the US legally to assist his lover then I agree he should not be deported but given a temporary period to help his friend.”

This couple have been together for 19-years with most of this time spent in San Francisco. They are a married couple not just ‘friends’ or ‘lovers’. Anthony John Makk (an Australian) is now his partner’s carer. What will happen to Bradford Wells if his partner is deported and who or what will it benefit? What has happened to compassion?

James Campbell
James Campbell3 years ago

Part of my maternal family are American (from New York State) and I struggle to understand why a country, largely made up of immigrants or their descendants, are not more flexible and take each case on individual basis rather than people having to fight for years for basic human rights. But then again, the prevailing attitude still regards same sex couples as ‘different’ (read inferior) and the sanctity of marriage must be defended - from what?

James Campbell
James Campbell3 years ago

Member .

I wish you were if that is the sum total of your contribution.

Emily L.
Emily L.3 years ago

wow, thank you to the senators who helped! I hope this reprieve can become permanent...

Judith H.
Judith H.3 years ago


Past Member
Past Member 3 years ago

more gay crap!! NEXT!!!!

Joe R.
Joe R.3 years ago

Great news! Thank you Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and state Sen. Mark Leno. DOMA has got to go!

Fred Krohn
Fred Krohn3 years ago

More proof that Komrad Klinton's 'Disease of Marriage Act' should be retroactively repealed.

Karen and Ed O.
Karen and Ed O.3 years ago

Thank you for the good news. This was a truly awful situation.
I hope Nancy Pelosi can get this destructive and bigotted act repealed before it destroys any more lives.