Jamie & Tim: Married in Canada, “buddies” in America, forced to flee to be together

Today at 10:00am Eastern Time, the Supreme Court may, or may not, strike down the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which, among other things, forbids the federal government to give gay couples any of the federal benefits of marriage. Among those benefits are the right for your foreign-national spouse to remain in America with you.

UPDATE: Another deadline passed – the Supreme Court did not issue its DOMA opinion today.  Next possible day is this coming Monday.  It really is a bit øf a joke the way these opinions are handled – having everyone scramble to the Supreme court in a big circus waiting to see if maybe today is the day.  These are the civil rights of millions of Americans being affected.  I really do wish the court would find a more respectful way to release its opinions than these cute scripted “deadlines.”

The gay community had hoped that this would be fixed in the immigration bill because, clearly, having your immigrant spouse kicked out of the United States is an “immigration” issue, but Republicans in Congress said no, and Democrats chickened out after quite a mediocre PR campaign from the official groups who claimed to be on our side, but really weren’t.

Enter Jamie and Tim.

Jamie-and-Tim-2

Jamie (r) and Tim (l) on their wedding day.

Jamie is Scottish, Tim is American.  They met virtually playing games on the Internet, and finally met in person a year later and have been inseparable ever since.  But not really.  Under American law they were in fact quite separable.

After seven years together, they decided to get married in Canada.  And now, so that they can be together, since the US won’t let Jamie stay, they’re both fleeing their native countries and moving to Central America.

Ironic isn’t it, Americans moving to Latin America because an immigration bill to let Latin Americans move to America just wasn’t the right place for gay families.

Jamie-and-Tim

Here’s a video that Jamie and Tim put together, it’s quite touching.  Hopefully in a few hours, they can take it down for good.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • lileasy

    The dude’s a first rate sociopath.

  • mark_in_toronto

    Point taken . . . but . . .

    Maybe it’s just me, but all of those wonderful ‘great life’ attributes are meaningless if you are discriminated against by the very government that takes a large part of your income to help pay for it.
    Yes . . . many of the same problems here but unlike the USA, these problems don’t define Canada as a country.
    And one can still fight for equal rights no matter where the geographical location.

    Regardless . . . I can certainly relate.

  • Butch1

    My goodness . . . They automatically assume a position of authority thinking they speak “The Word Of God” and therefore you had better listen. How pompous and hurtful. It’s also, thick headed of them to be this insensitive.

  • TomTO

    He said this during a phone call to arrange a visit. He was coming to Canada on business. Imagine the gall is takes to do that. Only religion makes people that self righteous and stupid at the same time.

  • TomTO

    So true! My husband just lost the job he loved. The job he went to school for when we moved to Canada. But we can handle anything after the hell we went through with US immigration. As long as we have each other….we’re fine.

  • I’ve come to the conclusion that, as the saying goes, the Inuit have hundreds of words for ‘snow’, we all desperately need more than one word for ‘love.’

    I love my wife. I adore her, like her, and respect her. I enjoy being with her. We have both affection and passion for one another. I also love her family, not just for accepting me, but for insisting I am of them, and that if I ever needed their help, they’re just a phone call away.

    I love my family, even my departed psycho father. I am grateful they brought me into this world and raised me through a childhood that was not 100% awful. However, I do not like them, nor do I respect them. Even before everything went to hell in the mid-90s post-closet era, I did not enjoy spending time with them. I feel some affection for my mother and one of my brothers, but that’s it. I know that they do not accept me, barely acknowledge my existence as a human being, and if I was in a tight spot, am almost certain they wouldn’t lift a finger to help me. (Well, that one brother might.)

    That’s two entirely different flavors of ‘love’, isn’t it? One is unconditional, the other isn’t. One has all the trappings of affection and warm feelings, whereas the second lacks them nearly entirely.

  • “What’s interesting though is how even the bad things are made easier when you have a life-partner and soul-mate.” That’s it in a nutshell–the glue that bonds is the deepest of friendships.

  • It’s entirely possible. I mean, when someone doesn’t approve of your choices — in my case, it was closet (and likely eventual suicide) versus making the choice to accept and become well-adjusted with my sexual orientation — they’d prefer if you suffered for it. I think, for instance, it’s behind much of the anti-gay animus and the refusal to do even the least little thing to make our lives less awful. I mean, really — how stony hearted does someone have to be to make an American have to choose between family and country, when such a choice isn’t at all necessary?

    Actually, what I’ve been doing has been to make it clear just how ordinary and non-rosy glasses my life is with my wife. What’s interesting though is how even the bad things are made easier when you have a life-partner and soul-mate. The other thing I mentioned in that last email letter to my mom was saying how we went through a rough patch where neither of us was finding work and money had gotten really tight — but that it was made better because we had each other for support and commiseration, as well as a sense of shared sacrifice as we went into super-frugal mode for the first four months of this year. Without my wife, I probably would’ve been stressed out completely.

    Anyway, I guess I’m kind of doing what you’re saying. Like I said, for several years there, I didn’t say much of anything about my personal life. I don’t even think my family had a clue that I’d gotten remarried in late ’98. At this point though, the last thing I’m going to do is to pretend to anyone that I’m not happily married.

  • For me, as I age, the understanding that grief and loss can transform into peace of mind is one of the few joys in this end stage life. Your story is sad but the wisdom of it encouraging to those who still cling to the fiction that we must love our families. Blood is not thicker because of ‘family.’ It is thicker because we forge other families that matter more, who love us, who support us, who accept our differences and stay with us to the end. GLTBQ families are our life’s blood.

  • Butch1

    I suppose you’re right. It makes you wonder if they secretly wish something bad would befall you though so they could preach at you their “christian words of wisdom” or something on the order of “I told you that you would be unhappy but you never listen” nonsense. I guess that is why I would say that “we” are fine and build that up so there is no misunderstanding on how things are going.

  • I concur.

  • I can’t quite bring myself to be that mean. But I figure there’s a pretty solid sub-text whenever I do recount how I’m actually doing, rather than just the “I’m fine” polite small-talk.

    The plain fact of the matter is my wife and I, while perhaps not quite joined at the hip, nevertheless remain the single most important person in each other’s lives. And just about anything of significance happening here involves both of us. I don’t even see it as rubbing their faces in it — it’s like I’m incapable of saying anything meaningful about how I’m doing without mentioning my wife, because nearly everything I’m involved with includes her in some aspect.

    Still, yeah, your point is taken, and I’m not going to hide the fact I do have a wife and that much of my happiness derives from her presence in my life.

  • Butch1

    These democrats are not real friends of ours. We need to remember them when they are up for re-election and vote third party. We have to get rid of these democrats in office and replace them with real liberals in the third party who will support us and do what we say when we ask them. We have been stabbed in the back too many times.

    We work too hard to put these traitors into office to see them stab us in the back on important issues and give us flimsy excuses every time. Schummer is a good example regarding the Immigration Bill. He is infamous for pulling this. We already know about Pelosi and Reid. Then there is Obama.

    We have no one on our side save, an Independent named Bernie Sanders. What does that tell you; an Independent? That is how we should be voting from now on!

  • Butch1

    I would rub it in with “we couldn’t be happier!” ;-) They always think we are going to be miserable the rest of our lives being pariahs or something and when they find out that we are living nice productive lives with plenty of real friends and extended families, it just burns them up to be proven wrong. ;-)

  • Butch1

    Any person who would tell you that to register your pain and see what your reaction would be doesn’t deserve to be associated with you anymore. They are only out to hurt you.

  • Butch1

    Yet, another story where
    this Supreme Court is still playing games with people making them wait until
    they will get off their arses and give us their decision on DOMA. Sadists!

  • TomTO

    Mark, I did mean it. We were in immigration court for years fighting for his status. Moving to another country when you are middle aged is not an easy transition. We had a great life in the US despite all of the bad things you mentioned. We owned a home near our family and we were very happy while fighting for equal rights at the same time. Leaving my very loving and supportive parents in the winter of their lives when they needed me the most is still heart breaking.
    Canada worked out well for us, but we had no idea it would when we moved here. We sold or gave away most everything and our life fit into one of those pods. Rebuilding a new life has been a challenge and we came to love Canada very much. We had no idea that would happen when we got here.
    We also have many of the same issues here in Canada that you mentioned about the US, excluding healthcare and possibly rude people.

  • richardgrabman

    I don’t know why it’s ironic. Latin Americans aren’t puritans like you guys north of the Rio Bravo and hung up on over-legalizing every aspect of life. Mexico at least recognizes sexual orientation as deserving of constitutional protection and equality before the law. It’s a procedural matter, but our Supreme Court is actively searching for a case so it can extend the now limited rights to same gender marriage (legal in the Federal District and one state… and two others under federal injunction). There’s no equivalent to the U.S. “DOMA”, as any marriage in any state is recognized legally in all parts of the Republic (and foreign marriages between persons of the same gender are also valid here).

  • Thom Allen

    Somewhat off topic but why the hell can’t they just publish a schedule of when each ruling will be released? Or just release them when they’re written, proofed and signed-off on regardless if it’s a Monday, Thursday or St. F*ckin Swithin’s Day?

    Continuing off topic. With the economy the way it is, people have called for Congress to take pay and benefit cuts. How about the Court? They only work a few months a year. Have law clerks, paralegals and secretaries to do the work. With the ever-present backlog of cases, why not have them work year-round?

  • Thom Allen

    Or “Sleeping with the Stars.”

  • nicho

    I have two gay ex-friends who decided to stop communicating with my partner and me after we told them we were getting married. We invited them to the wedding, and they responded “Can’t make it.” And that was the last we heard from them. These were people I’ve known since the ’70s.

  • Every now and then, my mother sends me a note, usually asking some variant on how I’m doing.

    For a few years, I was somewhat circumspect about my personal life, knowing that my entire family had freaked when I came out to them in the mid-90s. Besides, which, until ’06, it wasn’t even safe for me to contact them for any reason. But from that point on, I decided to hell with it, if she’s going to ask what’s going on for me, I’ll tell her.

    Since most of my life revolves around that of my wife, and she and I do so much together, I include mentions of her. And I say ‘we’ — as in “we bought a house last December and have been working on all kinds of DIY projects to fix it to our liking.” As well as specific mentions, like, “S—— is so happy to finally have a workshop space big enough for her woodworking tools and equipment.” And, “I’ve been busy with work, so S—— has taken charge of getting the garden set up so we can try to grow some decent vegetables this year.”

    Invariably, that’s the last I hear from my mother for at least another 6-8 months, and the next few notes don’t ask me any personal questions or ask how I’m doing. Just ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Birthday’ or whatever. It seems to take 2-3 years before my mother forgets she actually does not want to know anything about me or my life anymore.

    As for the rest of my family — yeah, not a one of them wants to hear from me or about me, so they’re dead to me, too. Thankfully, my wife’s family loves me for who I am.

  • mark_in_toronto

    “Having” to move to Canada? I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way.
    My husband and I did so 6 years ago . . . we love it here.
    Not that we wanted to stay in the U.S. anyway . . . we had many more reasons other than wanting to live in a place as a married couple where people don’t give it a second thought.
    Taxes, poisonous food, illegal wars, religious invasion of policy, corporate greed, unaffordable healthcare, worship or cars, dwindling public service, rude people, fear and division everywhere . . . . were a few of the other reasons.
    Interesting . . . that all this talk about keeping people OUT is more important than keeping loving, tax-paying American-born citizens IN.
    As usual, the social/political priorities are whacked.

  • TomTO

    Thanks and Good Luck to you too! It was very hard and painful to leave our life there, but we have been very fortunate here in Canada. It was a gamble and so far we are winning.

  • Good luck! I wish we could have left this god forsaken country when we had the chance, but it is to late now.

  • nicho

    His clerks did.

  • TomTO

    The last thing I said to him was, “isn’t it funny the gay son is no longer the blacksheep of the family, the religious bigot is the blacksheep now.”
    He’s so clueless he has no idea everyone else in our family disagrees with him. Especially after witnessing us having to move to Canada 5 years ago.

  • Realize? They don’t even recognize it exists as a possibility…all they see are their rating numbers, as it relates to politics.

  • One wonders if assh***s like Clinton ever for a moment realize what suffering they cause.

  • Bravo….I too no longer claim to have two bigot brothers. They are dead to me.

  • TomTO

    My brother was proud to tell me he supported the anti-gay marriage amendment in North Carolina, “for religious reasons”. So I proudly told him he is no longer welcome to be a part of our lives. I am no one’s token gay relative. He and his Con wife can pound salt.

  • Sweetie

    Have you noticed how the media is putting him in the spotlight lately. For instance, there was a unanimous opinion recently and the “Nightly Propaganda” featured him. Did he actually write the majority opinion?

  • Daveanderic FabieLim

    Jamie and Tim and just one more couple joining the THOUSANDS of us who already have been forced to leave the United States in order to be with our Legal Spouses. Back last November, we sent a letter to all our friends and family who we suspected may be considering voting for Republican candidates or blue dog Democrats and put it to them simply that they were not voting for lower taxes or the right to own an Uzi, they were voting to keep us out of the United States for the rest of our lives. We had a number of people respond to us that they honestly hadn’t realized that and would be changing their votes and would be “voting for us”. We are always amazed how many people just don’t realize what DOMA does to bi-national same sex couples.

  • mpeasee

    …he is pretty quiet, unless he wants to show his “long dong silver”! lol

  • nicho

    Except Clarence Thomas would have to be an “America’s got no talent.”

  • This is why I distill my description of this gross injustice toward bi-national gay and lesbian couples to this: “Forced to choose between divorce or exile.”

    And it’s why I’m bitterly angry towards the Democratic leaders who have deemed this injustice as acceptable, and even more so towards the GOPers who are so vehemently anti-gay they can’t let this one slide.

  • Yeah I was able to reproduce it on my windows machine, thanks

  • nicho

    The minute you say “religion,” you can get away with an awful lot of shit. There is no requirement in Islam for women to cover their faces. That is just some shit some guys made up to keep women in their place, but they claim it’s part of their religious beliefs.

  • mpeasee

    …read that, you can cover you face for religious purposes, but not to protest your government. I am consistently amazed at how much the state will protect corporations.

  • mpeasee

    …I know, the jingoism is deafening.

  • mpeasee

    …dude, I hope your wrong…I think it would be devastating to many young (…especially those in high school) people who are out and proud.

  • mpeasee

    You are so right! I can totally see a few of them wanting to be on the next “Americans got Talent” or ” Dancing with the Stars”. It so offensive, but I guess this is what happens when you have a Corporate Judiciary, who wants to be in the news all the time.

  • unclemike

    Bret, we’re in the same boat. My Hong Kong-born husband and I got married in Canada last year, then 3 days later had to say goodbye to each other at the airport. This decision can’t come fast enough for us–either I’ll be able to start the process of bringing him here, or I can start the process of joining him somewhere else.

  • nicho

    They’re timing it to come during Pride week, which make my inner cynic say they’re going to shit on us and they want to ruin Pride in the process. Fat Tony would like nothing better than that.

  • nicho

    Blocking my comment? It’s a conspiracy, I tell you. I blame the NSA.

  • chris10858

    Seems the Supremes are big ‘ole divas who enjoy the attention?

  • Sweetie

    “Ironic isn’t it, Americans moving to Latin America because an immigration bill to let Latin Americans move to America just wasn’t the right place for gay families.”

    We’re #1.

  • quax

    Bit off topic, but this reminds me of the story of Frederick the Great (the one who made Prussia into a major European power), by all account he was gay and as prince planned to flee with his lover to England. They were apprehended and his father, the king, executed his beloved. Beats me why this story hasn’t been made into a movie yet. http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/frederick_great.html

  • TomTO

    I was really bummed when Justin Trudeau and the Liberals supported the Conservative police state. They celebrated the erosion of our civil liberties. Which threw us into the arms of the NDP when we get to vote for the first time in the next election.

  • cole3244

    when 98% of americas pols are right of center progress is slow, elect left of center pols and progress will be fast and fair.

  • TomTO

    The right ad is the misplaced one. Right now it’s blocking the comment section, so you cannot see what you type if you put in an original comment on the story. I typed my first one blind.

  • We never see the same ads, you and I – where is the one blocking Nicho – one of the two side by side ads? And if so, the right one or the left one – just trying to keep track of the errors.

  • Yknot1213

    No DOMA (or Prop 8) decisions today.

  • TomTO

    Right now Senator Udal’s ad is blocking Nicho’s comment. I am on Windows using Internet Explorer. Sometimes the ads block sections of your articles.

  • Damn it, which ad where on the page, home page or the pages the posts are on like this one? Does it seem to happening relatively often? I’m assuming you’re on a Windows machine, which browser?

  • nicho
  • Bret C

    Thanks for posting this John. I know this pain and anguish all too well, as I’m living it too. Like Jamie & Tim my husband and I have been forced to live abroad because I cannot sponsor his marriage visa. We’re anxiously awaiting SCOTUS’s ruling on Section 3 of DOMA. Fingers crossed for all binational couples out there who just want to live with those they love; at home.

  • TomTO

    Thank you John. You are the only leading blog that seems to give a damn about binational couples. FYI your ads are blocking content again.

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