Love Exiles on the Marriage Equality Express

Friday, October 01, 2004

The National Marriage Equality Express Caravan has already begun

The caravan departs Oakland, California, on Monday October 4. But my caravan started in Amsterdam on September 26 at 1:00 am. For some reason I checked my email before going to bed. I had a message from Eve, one of the caravan participants, asking if I or one of my family members could join a meeting on Monday (very short notice!) with staffmember of California Senator Dianne Feinstein about immigration reform to recognize same-sex couples. Senator Feinstein is not yet a sponsor of the Permanent Partners Immigration Act, which would allow people like me to live in the United States once again.

Given the unreasonably short notice and the fact that it was 1 am (so 4 pm in California), I got on the phone with my sister and asked her to attend the meeting. She said she'd see what she could do. Her had to work and her daughter had a soccer game. Next I got on the phone with my brother, who lives more than 1.5 hours from the meeting in San Francisco, and also had to work that day, getting up at 4 am. He said he'd see what he could do. I went to bed excited and moved that they were willing to consider turning their Monday afternoon and evening upside down. I experienced the support of my family in a whole new way.

On Monday 27 September, my sister Amy Weishaar, her kids Lisa and Garret, and my brother Kevin McDevitt, attended the meeting at Senator Feinstein's office. As a love exile, I couldn't be present. I had to work that week in Amsterdam. But I got to experience the generosity of new friends (Eve, who will travel across the United States with me in a few days time), and the love of my family. And my family got to hear the plight of many other same-sex couples who are less fortunate that I am. I have a home in the Netherlands where I'm accepted. Many binational couples don't have a country they can legally live in, and are separated or constantly dealing with the challenges and impossibility of short-term stay visas.

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