Love Is Not A Special Right, It Is A Human Right ~ How Our Love Story Helped Change A Law
Updated: 4 days ago
We turned our painful fight to stay together by literally putting our love on the line in an effort to advocate for LGBTQ equal rights and change a law. Then, having done so, turned a part of our story into a short film, STATUS UNKNOWN, to continue promoting that equal acceptance under the law is NOT a special right, it is a human right!
STATUS UNKNOWN, brings an important message about how LGBTQ people have been treated, what they have been through and continue to go through and how they have fought for simple rights and justice. We may have won some legal battles but acceptance is the biggest battle and the more we can highlight that, the closer we are to achieving it.
We are extremely grateful for all the outpouring of support we have received for our impactful short film STATUS UNKNOWN, not to mention honored to have been chosen by We Are Moving Stories Carmela Baranowska as one of her most entertaining, powerful and inspiring lesbian films.
Celebrities Come Out in Support of Couples Powerful, LGBTQ Advocacy Short Film, STATUS UNKNOWN!
What people are saying about STATUS UNKNOWN: The feedback has been incredible, very positive; from people like Jason Alexander telling us “it’s beautiful and moving”, Carnie Wilson and Melissa Gilbert said it is “Powerful stuff”, Andie MacDowell said “Congrats on your efforts to educate others on equality.”
“Wow it looks like a terrific movie about a horrific issue. If this is your story I am so sorry. Hope we can create change.” ~Barbara Niven
“Your story is about love, your perseverance is inspiring and shows how love conquered all!!” ~Mary Murphy
Mary Murphy has been a wonderful ally for the LGBTQ community and we have been grateful for her support, from her kindness when we met in Boston, to her online advocacy.
This is our story: When Laurie and I met, back in 2005 and fell in love an ocean apart, we no idea of the journey we were about to set out on. All we knew was, we had to be together, we had to make this relationship work, despite the odds set against us!
Love is worth fighting for. Initially, we thought the distance was the hard part, Laurie was in Massachusetts, America and I, in West Sussex, England. With an ocean between us we fell in love across the worldwide web. After spending eight wonderful, crazy all-encompassing love packed days together in Massachusetts, we knew our love was strong enough to overcome the battles ahead.
We had to juggle our relationship, families and work across two continents to forge our lives together. In 2006, we married in both Massachusetts and West Sussex, this made sure that both families and friends on each side of the Atlantic could not only celebrate, but witness what we had with us. Neither of us wanted to use our previous last names so we had fun deciding on a new one. As we sat on the dock at Laurie’s water front condo, overlooking the Taunton River at sunset, and, after many differing ideas, we hit upon Hart, because we both loved the American TV show Hart to Hart.
Married life was bliss with the exception of the US Federal Government. Unfortunately two marriage licenses were not enough for them. Each time I flew from London to Boston I was hauled down to immigration for intense interrogation, I’d show them my marriage certificates to prove I was legally married to an American but to no avail.
"Our marriage wasn’t recognized! Our love was not approved of!"
STATUS UNKNOWN (SHORT FILM) - WATCH FOR FREE
Story line - Facing enforced separation by the Federal Government, a bi-national lesbian couple take a public stand, proving their marriage is worth fighting for.
After years of anguish and on the brink of deportation, we were given an ultimatum. Either we fight publicly for our human rights, or I must stay in the country illegally, making it impossible to see my family in England. Of course, we chose to fight for our love and civil rights but that did come with the risk of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), knocking on our door at any moment. Soon our story took flight, celebrities, politicians, and LGBTQ advocacy groups jumped to our defense. We were amazed by the support we received and soon our love was a poster for bi-national marriage equality across the USA.
Having been thrown into this world of public activism, we took it by the horns, even though at times we were shocked by the ugliness of some haters, we were always buoyed by the support of our colorful community, family and friends. Love is love is everything worth advocating for. With the wonderful help and advice from prominent people, including but not limited to, GLAD Law’s American Civil Rights Lawyer Mary Bonauto, Immigration Equality and New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, our story went all the way to the house judiciary committee, in support of Edith Windsor’s landmark DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) case.
Finally, with the supreme court ruling section 3 of DOMA was unconstitutional, Laurie could sponsor me for my green card and that was a day for immense celebration, possibly a little too much celebration but that’s another matter. We are so grateful to all those generations before us who have fought on the frontlines for LGBTQ equality, as well as those who supported our personal fight.
Now, with my green card in the bag, we could’ve sat back and just got on with our lives, safe from the constant fear of deportation. But no, we knew the importance of advocating for nationwide marriage equality, everyone deserves to have their marriage recognized and we were in a position to use our platform to help play a part in making that happen.
With the use of TV interviews and social media, we got to work spreading the word for nationwide marriage equality. Our story was picked up by the wonderful LGBTQ ally Rita Wilson and featured in her Huffington Post Voices of Strength series. After our all OUT effort the historic day arrived when the supreme court ruling was made, legalizing gay marriage, our hearts were full. At that time, we were wedding photographers and photographing our first gay wedding after the ruling was momentous. It was the wedding of a lesbian couple, who had been waiting for this day for over twenty years, it was such a deeply moving experience. During the ceremony, as the couple exchanged their poignant vows, behind the lenses of our cameras tears pricked our eyes , this is what we fought for. Love and dignity are all we craved and not just for ourselves. Love is love is everything and as these two long time lovers sealed their love and marriage with a kiss, we captured the moment in time.
Our journey has made us understand how important it is to use your voice to bring about change. We also appreciate the importance of standing up for others, because of the people standing up for us they changed our lives. Together is always the way forward and we’d love to hear your love story, sharing our stories does give hope to others, that is something we hear so often from those still struggling …. Spread some LOVE because you could change someone's life and please watch and share our first short film STATUS UNKNOWN!
A message from someone we touched with our story.
“I’m still very much in the closet but your story gives me hope for the day I decide to throw that door wide open and step out.” Melissa
We are abundantly grateful to everyone who has supported us in anyway, from helping us fight for marriage equality, to the making of our short film, you hold a special place in our HEARTS!
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