Improving gay marriage immigration rights are helping many same-sex couples living in the United States finally gain the legal status they need to live together without fear of being separated. For those who have been waiting years for equality – like Bradford Wells and Australian-born Anthony Makk – the ability to be seen as a legally married couple will have a tremendous impact on their quality of life.
According to CNN, Wells and Makk have been together for more than 20 years. In addition to being spouses, their union is also important because Makk acts as Wells’ – who has AIDS – caretaker. In 2011, the U.S. government denied Makk’s application to become a permanent resident because the Defense of Marriage Act did not recognize the same-sex marriage as being valid. Now that the DOMA has been revised and is in demise, the couple was finally able to get some closure.
Earlier this week, Wells and Makk met with officials at a San Francisco immigration office and learned that their marriage – performed almost a decade ago in Massachusetts – is now considered legal under U.S. law, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“They verified that we have a real marriage,” Wells told the Chronicle. “My application for a petition to have him immigrate as my spouse has been approved. It means that I’m equal to every other American, with the same rights and responsibilities. I’m no longer a subclass.”
To make it happen, the couple had to undergo a process used to verify their marriage as a genuine union rather than a green card marriage. According to the source, this included providing information on their wedding date, how they met, what they know about each other’s families and other concrete details that show they are a real couple who want to be together because they love each other.