The federal government has denied permanent residency to a man serving as the primary caregiver to his AIDS-afflicted spouse.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk, an Australian, were married in Massachusetts in 2004. But the Obama administration late last month denied Makk's application for permanent residency in the U.S., and ordered him to leave the country by Aug. 25.
The government cited the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex couples, as the reason behind the decision.
"The claimed relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary is not a petitionable relationship," the government's ruling said. "For a relationship to qualify as a marriage for purposes of federal law, one partner must be a man and the other a woman."
Wells and Makk have been living together for 19 years, primarily in San Francisco's Castro district. Wells, who has severe health problems, also relies on Makk as his sole caregiver.
The government's denial marks the latest chapter in a heated battle over the Defense of Marriage Act, which Congress passed in 1996. Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced that it would refrain from defending the law in court. Nonetheless, administration officials indicated that they would still enforce the act, even as lawsuits continue to arise that challenge its constitutionality.
From Wells’s perspective, the series of events amounted to a perfect storm of government discrimination. "Anyone can identify with the horror of having the government come in and destroy your family when you've done nothing wrong, and you've done everything right, followed every law," he told the Chronicle.