Anthony Makk, Gay Australian, to Stay in Country -- For Now

Categories: Immigration, LGBT
Anthony Makk, left, can stay for now
Anthony Makk, the gay San Franciscan who was in jeopardy of being deported back to his native Australia today, will be staying here a little longer. His attorneys are filing a spouse visa petition in a New York immigration court, which will buy Makk a little extra time with his husband who is a citizen of the United States.

We wrote about the couple's immigration case on Friday, when Makk's husband, Bradford Wells, was taken to the hospital after he suffered chest pains and shortness of breath while collecting paperwork for Makk's visa application. Wells is HIV positive and had recently suffered a heart attack, though he was released from the hospital within hours on Friday.
Makk has been his primary caretaker throughout their relationship of 19 years, which includes seven years of marriage.

Despite the health emergency, the couple successfully sent the paperwork to their attorney at Immigration Equality, says Steve Ralls, who is the spokesman for the New York-based nonprofit that advocates for gay immigrants. Ralls says the couple's attorney will FedEx the paperwork today so that it will arrive by tomorrow -- right on deadline, Ralls says.

Makk was staying in the country under the Visa Waiver Program, which allows Australian nationals to visit the country for 90 days without a tourist visa.

The Castro couple's visa imbroglio is rooted in an inequality in federal immigration law: While straight Americans can sponsor their spouses for a visa, gay Americans cannot, thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). After the Obama Administration declared the law unconstitutional earlier this year, several gay married couples, including Wells and Makk, filed spousal petitions and are now waiting for a response from the Department of Homeland Security. Lawmakers told immigration authorities to stop deporting people who would be eligible for a spouse visa -- just in case DOMA is repealed or ruled unconstitutional.

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