Immigration Agency Denies Gay Couple’s Petition

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently denied permanent residency to an Australian man, Anthony Makk, whose same-sex spouse, Bradford Wells, is a U.S. citizen.

Makk and Wells have lived together for nearly two decades and were married seven years ago in Massachusetts. However, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act denies immigration benefits to same-sex couples. USCIS cited this law in rendering a decision against Makk’s application for an I-130 visa, which would grant him permanent residency as the spouse of a U.S. national. Unless the decision is reversed, Makk must leave the country by August 25.

Wells told the San Francisco Chronicle that as an AIDS patient, he relies on extensive medical insurance and essential care he receives in this country, making a move to Australia with Makk impossible.

Earlier this year, the White House declared it will no longer defend DOMA in court, though the U.S. Justice Department would continue to enforce the law.

A spokeman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, told The Chronicle the congresswoman will work to overturn the USCIS ruling.

Last March, same-sex couples cheered when USCIS announced a suspension of deportation cases involving gay citizens with immigrant spouses. However, shortly after its announcement, USCIS clarified the suspension would only last a few weeks, until a specific legal matter was settled.