Tom & Glen Fall in Love, Get Married and File a Green Card Petition. Help Us Keep Them Together.

Thursday September 24, 2009 was the day our lives changed. On that day I met Glen while on a visit to San Francisco from New York. It was quickly apparent that Glen was from Australia. He, too, was visiting, with every expectation that he would simply return to Australia after having had a relaxing vacation.

I spotted Glen in a bar in SOMA, the name given for the neighborhood south of Market Street in San Francisco. My first impression was a lasting one, to say the least. He was so handsome, with a mixture of silver and black hair, stunning features, and an incredible smile. As I would learn he was a former Mr. Australia. In just three days I would celebrate my 39th birthday, and I thought that I would be happier living out my days a single man. But on that day, in that place, that all changed.

Eventually, we were having a conversation. Surprisingly, he seemed to know more people in the bar than I did; there were a lot of Australians in town.  I soon learned that Glen knowing everyone would be a common occurrence. Although I have always been outgoing and gregarious myself, Glen is the friendliest, most sociable person I have ever met. I have never seen anyone so compassionate and so genuinely interested in other people. He kept talking to so many people that night that I started to drift away on the impression that he was not interested, at which point he would reach out and touch me on the arm to make sure I knew that he was. At some point I recall Glen got involved in a conversation, and I decided to call it a night. I had to leave early so I could go to a job interview the next morning, and thought I would never see him again.

I was surprised when Glen called me the next morning and set up a date for that evening. We stayed out all night and well past dawn. The energy was just magical. We became inseparable all weekend, and we bared our souls to one another. I told him of all the most difficult trials in my life: my coming out, being gay bashed, the murder of two close loved ones, and how devastated I was by two past relationships. But I told him all the good stuff too: my spiritual beliefs, how I grew and matured and conquered so many fears and built myself into the person I wanted to be. Three days later, on my birthday, Glen told me that he loved me. I was taken aback. I take a word like “love” very seriously and would never have expected to hear it used so soon, but after some hours of soul searching, I decided that I could say the same to him as well.

The next day I flew back to New York and Glen flew back to Sydney. And for the last 32 months we have done everything in our power to maintain our relationship. As boyfriends, as lovers, and soul mates, nothing can be more difficult than the 10,000 miles that separated us at times.

Glen and I talked to each other on Skype every single day after we met, some times as much as four hours a day. It seemed like the only thing I could think about was that gorgeous, sunny, cheery, sweet, sweet, sweet loving man from Australia. Six unbearable weeks passed before I came to visit him in Australia. The 10 days were among the most magical and meaningful of my life. I was completely swept away with how kind and loving he was toward me; no one had ever treated me that way before. He was just the most beautiful human being I had ever known. We spent several more trips together before deciding it was time to live together, about six months after we had met.

Glen decided to apply to school in New York and come on a student visa and enhance his qualifications, but just before he moved forward with that plan he was offered a job in New York and obtained a temporary work visa. From there, Glen moved from one employer to another.  Each time petitions had to be filed and there was some anxiety for us as to whether each would be approved and whether the job would last. Unfortunately, one after another the employment opportunities seemed to fall through just as they were approved by the Immigration Service. Perhaps it was partly bad luck and partly a bad economy. But we struggled to make sure Glen had legal status so we could remain together.

On our first anniversary we traveled to San Francisco to celebrate.  I got down on one knee at the very spot we had met and I proposed to Glen. A few days later he was on a plane to London where he would live until we could find a way for him to return to the United States. Of course, unlike a straight couple in that situation, I could not sponsor Glen for a fiancé visa because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  DOMA not only prevents the Government from recognizing the marriages of gay and lesbian couples for all federal purposes, but even prohibits use of the fiancé visa process to bring a same-sex fiancé to the U.S. to enter into a marriage with a gay American.

With Tom's Parents

Glen stayed with a fellow we barely knew in London while I handled the administrative work for a job opportunity. Unfortunately, Glen became seriously ill while in London and even though he was covered by my health insurance in the States, that was useless in the U.K.  He had to go through a long bureaucratic process of several weeks to finally get treatment for his developing pneumonia at a health facility that was basically for the destitute. I was beside myself with worry not only with his health, but also because it was becoming clear that the latest H-1B employment opportunity we hoped would bring Glen back to the U.S. was falling through. We had all but given up on that visa, when the employer surprised us by signing the forms and filing the petition.  These were desperate times, and we clung to every opportunity to be together legally in the United States.

Glen returned to New York and started his new job, but that soon fell apart. The employer was not cooperating, and it was clear Glen would have to find yet another job. Glen is a hard worker. He is the sort of person who can sell ice to Eskimos, and I always assumed that as long as Glen was bringing in the sales money, his employer would do what was necessary under the law to keep Glen around. I was wrong. The employer was abusive and Glen could not take it anymore. I will never forget the day Glen came home in tears, not because his boss had gone into a bizarre inexplicable fit of rage and not because he would lose his job.  He was in tears because he was afraid of being forced to leave the United States and not be with me.

However, it soon looked like things were finally going our way.  Glen quickly got another job and it seemed to hold real promise. But this promise soon turned to misery as well. Glen was now traveling almost full time, and he was completely unhappy. The working conditions were just terrible, and the firm was within a few months of going bankrupt. The point of the job was so we could stay together, and yet we were always apart. After months and months, we gave up. This job too would not be the answer for us.

Because it is so difficult for us to find a way for Glen to stay legally in this country, we know that the only alternative would be for me, as the main bread-winner, to give up the career that I have worked so assiduously to build for years, and move abroad. That most likely means I would be unemployed, either in the UK or Australia. Thankfully, we were able to remain here until my father passed away.  Glen and I did not have to abandon my mother and sister while they tried to manage my father’s Alzheimer’s. At least the haters that claim to be “protecting marriage” had not forced us to leave the land of my birth and deprive a World War II veteran of the support he needed from his son once he became unable to care for himself.

Moving out of the country would not only impact us. I have several employees and pay a hefty amount in federal, state and city income taxes each year. I have a master’s degree and served the country as a diplomat for the U.S. Treasury Department for many years. I support my family and my community and my family wants me here with them. I have ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower and have relatives who fought in every war in our nation’s history to protect this nation’s freedom. It is simply beyond me how any compassionate nation, or any nation with a good sense of its own self-interest, would think it is beneficial to drive me into exile because I am gay and refuse to let go of the man I love.

When all the hopes we had for Glen’s employment visa appeared to have been lost, we decided to move forward with our plans to marry. We also made the important decision to not leave the United States without fighting to be treated equally. We decided to file a green card petition for Glen on the basis of our marriage and we will fight for it to be held in abeyance and then ultimately approved once DOMA is repealed by Congress or struck down by the Supreme Court.

We married in January and submitted an application for permanent residence (a “green card”) for Glen shortly after. We are planning a big wedding celebration in September for our family and friends, and we are hoping that the green card application is put on hold so that Glen will be able to continue to stay in the United States in lawful status.  Our hope now is that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will delay the processing of our green card petition while the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” makes its way to the Supreme Court, or is repealed by Congress. In just the last year, a number of federal courts have ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional, a finding that would allow Glen to be treated just like another spouse of an American and let him receive permanent residency. If Immigration Service will wait to receive clarity from the courts, then we can delay the day that I make the devastating decision with regards to my career and my family. That policy decision ultimately rests with President Obama, and despite his strong words of support for marriage equality in May, there are still steps to be taken to protect couples like Glen and me.

We need the Obama administration to stop denying green card petitions filed by married gay binational couples immediately.

We want a resolution for the same reason all other married couples would want to avoid being in this limbo: we want to begin to build a stable future together. With some stability we could then think about buying a home and making choices in our lives that we have had to constantly put off, not knowing what would happen to us in a few months’ time. The years of debilitating uncertainly have worn us down. We did finally decide to get a puppy together, something we had wanted to do for years but had postponed because we did not know if we would be able to stay in our home in New York. There is only one thing in my life that gives me certainty now, and that is the knowledge that Glen and I will remain together. No law, no hate, no immigration authority, no threat of unemployment, and no poverty will ever separate us. Only death, only upon death will we finally part.

We will keep fighting until the Obama administration does the right thing. This is just the beginning and we know we are not alone. We join with tens of thousands of lesbian and gay binational couples who need the protection and security that an “abeyance” policy would offer.

And we can’t wait.

We need it now.

36 comments


  • Patrick Spencer

    I have always admired your beautiful spirit and strength Tom. I am glad you are focusing it on something that will not only help you and your husband have a beautiful life together, but will also help others with the same struggle ,along with breaking the wall of inequality down even further.

    All my love

    June 4, 2012
  • Fred Seifts

    We need not only keep Same Sex Married couples together with Green Cards, we need to bring Same Sex Married couples together that are living apart in two different countries with Green Cards! I am legally married to my Same Sex Partner in Argentina. Now he is living there and I am living in the U.S. trying to find a way to obtain a Green Card for him. We take turns visiting each others countries which is both very expensive and not a nice way for a Married Couple to have to live. Let’s get these Green Cards issure to ALL Same Sex Married Couples that need them!!!!!!

    June 4, 2012
  • wim coppens

    its the number 1 of great couples that we know around the world and they deserve the right to be together and support each-other
    lets fight together and show them that love is stronger than hate

    June 4, 2012
  • Justin Margolis

    Such a touching story from two lovely men. Do the right thing America. Get Glen his green card. Stop DOMA!

    (but…if all fails, Canada would be lovely to have you!)

    June 4, 2012
  • Todd

    Hey boys! Tom- so eloquent in your words, and I have seen the love you have for one another!! I thank the universe you have taken this on for so many of us living the expat life, for your successes will be ours. And I knew the first time I met you why someone like Glen, with his beautiful spirit, would be as drawn to you as you to him. Many blessings, and continue to find the happiness!! Love you both!!

    June 4, 2012
  • allison khalil

    My hubby and I have known Glen for more than 20 years. He is now in a place where he needs to be, and is happy and content now he has met this beautiful man . Tom has showed him how to deeply and truely love and they are as comitted as any happily married hetrosexual couple, and should be given the same rights! I just wonder how these pig headed people would feel if the shoe happened to be on the other foot, and their rights were to be taken away?????
    Its life, this won’t go away, and what harm is it to anyone that people choose to be in same sex relationships??
    Its no different than anyone being in a hetrosexual one, they still love and need each other in exactly the same way……..

    Forget religion, forget what you think of same sex marriages, and for goodness sake allow people to be happy, how hard is that to consider. These people have obviously had a very sheltered up bringing, which is exteremly sad and the generations to come need to recognise that the world will NEVER revolve around such shallow minded views

    Let people choose their paths!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2012
  • Frank

    My Brasillian pardner of four years now, proposed to me today. I can only hope that before we celebrate our vows, that DOMA is overturned.

    June 4, 2012
  • Fredrick Jones

    Hi Guys, Very nice story. I miss you boys a lot. Hope your doing well.

    Fred

    June 5, 2012
  • Tomny Lor

    I LOVE TOM AND GLENN!!!! THEY ARE THE HAPPIEST AND MOST LOVING GAY COUPLE I KNOW!!! ;)

    June 11, 2012
  • Vincent Vega

    Deportations of people married to american citizens should not be allowed in any case. Tom and Glen are one of the most dedicated, loving, and accepting couples i have EVER met, and to separate them over such a pointless issue would be beyond ridiculous, Glen is now married to U.S citizen and needs to be kept HERE with his husband, i don’t get america sometimes, though i love it. But, i do love u Glen & Tom, and i know things are gonna be ok, u have my love and support always!

    June 11, 2012
  • I send you love….and nothing else but love!!! I think its the strongest energy and you 2 deserve it. Because you 2 are love and nothing else but love………
    Kiss,
    Diana

    June 11, 2012
  • Jonny

    Go for it boys. I support you 100 percent. I would share my story, but I am way to scared that I might be forced to choose between my country and the love of my life. In the end, after a decade together, much of it under the shadow that he chose to stay here and give up all the privileges he was used to because he’s so in love with me… I would find it hard to be apart and even harder to support a government that would deny me the RIGHT to marry whom I choose and spend my life with that person where I choose. Please make my dream possible. Until then, you can just call me *Jonny* and as for who he is? None of your business. All you need to know is we love each other very much. I cannot bear the thought of us being apart. And this situation is cruel and unfortunately not that unusual. Obama, are you listening? It’s time to fix this.

    June 11, 2012
  • Franco DiLuzio

    We fully support your love and your relationship and your petition guys. WE LOVE YOU!

    June 11, 2012
  • Angus Reid

    Knowing Glen from Australia and how successful he was here I was intrigued when he said he had met Tom and was in love and giving everything up and moving to the US to be with him. So when Tom came to Australia and I saw them together and then visited them in NY I can say they are made for each other! It is completely cruel that they are always living in fear of being separated just because they are gay. The sooner DOMA is overturned the better and the country will be stronger for it. What happened to the American mantra of freedom and equality?

    June 11, 2012
  • Rob Blandford and Matthew Kettell

    One day in the future, same-sex couples won’t have to go through all of this pain just to be able to be together.
    I applaud you, Tom and Glen, for having the strength of character to carry on fighting these barriers. And of course I understand that you have no choice…it’s been clear from the outset that your love was such that you wouldn’t just back down and accept separation.

    Best of luck. We love you! Rob and Matt xxx

    June 11, 2012
  • Niv Hoffman

    The fact that this homepage even needs to come into existence is infuriating! Tom and Glenn are a married couple just as any straight couple is – and probably a lot more. It is sad that this kind of fight still has to continue – but it does, and it will go on until reason and justice win over fear and ignorance.

    June 11, 2012
  • Milty

    Good luck with you cause. You are an amazing couple. All the best to you guys. xoxo

    June 12, 2012
  • You guys are clearly meant for each other and no one or no government should be able to change that! You have the support of so many friends and I hope you can find a way to work past this last ugly piece of inequality that is part of America and stay here to enrich our community.
    Good Luck!!! Scott

    June 12, 2012
  • Iker

    A GREAT COUPLE, MY BEST WISHES TO YOU!!!
    KISSES

    June 12, 2012
  • Arturo Garcia-Costas

    Guys, I will help in whatever way I can. I was exposed to so many examples of how our unjust and heartless immigration laws were hurting same-sex, binational couples during my time as Congressman Nadler’s LGBT community liaison. The Uniting American Families Act is one of his signature pieces of legislation and would have granted same-sex couples full immigration equality with opposite sex couples under the law. The story of your relationship and the challenges you continue to face to stay together is both inspiring and infuriating. Somehow, someway this injustice will be relegated to the dustbin of history. Let’s just make sure it happens sooner rather than later.

    June 12, 2012
  • Mario Hernandez

    Good luck Guys, you are a wonderful couple & deserve the very best! We love you !!!

    M&P

    June 12, 2012
  • matthew camp

    live and let love =)

    June 12, 2012
  • JJMM

    This turns my stomach. The thought of my husband and myself being separated due to politics is unfathomable. My thoughts and prayers are with the two of you. XOXO

    June 12, 2012
  • When I heard this story at the beginning I could not believe it. How can it be that in this day and age couples are torn apart due to red tape.
    I can’t understand this and ask that you stop this discrimination!
    President Obama wants to support gay marriage…then he could start here and support Tom & Glen!

    June 12, 2012
  • John O'Connor

    The is very sad .how our unjust and heartless immigration laws were hurting same-sex, binational couples , It Makes you Stop and think just what kind of country we are living in ..

    June 12, 2012
  • Jason Raphael

    Congratulations to you both on your marriage!

    June 12, 2012
  • Michael Whitmore

    I support this cause wholeheartedly & hope that you both get to live your dream – just as you deserve. Big love xxx

    June 12, 2012
  • Andrew Clarkson

    Glen is a great friend, so full of love and happiness, a pleasure to be around. He had such a secure and successful life here in Australia, the one ingredient missing was ‘true love’. He moved half way round the world to be with the man he loves. His bond with Tom is sincere and deep, please let them stay together, please! support Tom and Glen.

    June 12, 2012
  • Mark

    Love should not be this hard. Tom and Glen are as in love as it gets and nothing would keep them apart except for four lousy letters: D O M A. Down with DOMA and Kudos to Tom & Glen for keeping up the fight!

    June 12, 2012
  • Brett

    Much love to you both for sharing your story. Not just so that you may be able to stay together in New York as you so wish, but that others in a similar predicament might be helped by your courage. Your love should not be dictated by politics but rather by the bond that you so obviously share. I look forward to hearing about all of the positive stories in the future. B xo

    June 13, 2012
  • Tom and Glen are made for each other – from the moment I met them it was clear to me that the energy and love they share with each other is real. I am fortunate to have Paul in the UK with me: the thought of being separated from my loved one by legislation like DOMA, makes me both angry and a little sad at the same time that there are people out there who would deny others the right to live with their loved ones without tearing the rest of their lives to pieces.

    I hope you’ll make it and keep up the good work!

    June 13, 2012
  • Shaun Swanger

    You deserve this happiness. It just doesn’t make sense that authorities can make it so difficult for you. And now you’re making a public statement about it – much admiration for you xx

    June 13, 2012
  • Ken Spreitzer

    You guys are great! It’s a shame that while you may be legally married in the eyes of New York state, you have no federal rights. I expect Obama to be a fierce advocate for everyone, just like he promised!

    I’ll also post this article on my Facebook wall, and encourage others to do so as well.

    June 14, 2012
  • Francisco Rodríguez

    We (My boyfriend and I) met this wonderful couple last year during our vacations. We did such a perfect match since the beggining since we seEms to have a lot of things in common. The most important was the love for our couples.
    After one year they came to visit us to Mexico and stayed in our house, once again, we had a great time together showing them the city around.
    They invited us so many times to their place in New York, but until now we have not had the time to go.
    We hope to have free time to see them soon. We hope to visit them in New York and stay at their place to share many things together again.

    June 14, 2012
  • I have known Glen for many years now and was there for him, as a close friend, during the turmoil of his coming out which saw him end his 16 year marriage to his gorgeous ex-wife Caroline and have to deal with the fallout from his friends and family. Watching Glen deal with all the resulting issues and spending many hours discussing his fears and insecurities allowed me an insight into his relationships with those who were close to him. Invariably Glen’s first instincts were to protect the feelings of his wife and family and he struggled continuously with how to make things ‘right’ by all. Of course, coming out is a painful prowess for so many but honesty and love are both powerful forces and Glen is now enjoying a renewed closeness with his family and still treasures the close friendship held with his Caroline.
    Glen has now chosen a wonderful man in Tom and although I have only met him during brief visitations to Sydney I am struck by their obvious closeness and bond they now share. Nothing is planned without both considering the options and socializing is enjoyed as a solid and committed couple.
    Both Glen and Tom are kind, considerate, responsible, family oriented men who deserve the right to happiness as every other individual does. They ask for no special favors or considerations; just the right to live their lives as every other citizen has the right to live. Glen & Tom don’t just have the support of the gay community but also the support of their family as well as friends (straight and gay).
    Glen and Tom’s plight to gain recognition of their relationship is simply about ‘love’, and as a loving community we should encourage and nurture it where ever it is found to be honest and sincere.
    Good luck my friends, my God see you through these tuff times ahead. Ken

    June 15, 2012
  • Tod Hall

    We love you boys and want so much for this struggle to be behind you. And it will be. You’re on the good side of the fight, and we – along with so many (seemingly countless) other friends of yours – will stand by your side and help you do whatever it takes to win this battle. And when we win, we will dance together as we always do…but like we’ve never danced before! G&T x

    June 16, 2012

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This is a pro-bono project of the law firm of Masliah & Soloway, PC. Posts on this website are offered for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. The law firm of Masliah & Soloway, PC has offices in New York and Los Angeles. Our practice is limited to U.S. Immigration & Nationality Law.