Married Gay Binational Couple Gets Reprieve from Deportation


A married gay binational couple has received news that the threat of deportation for one of them under DOMA has been temporarily alleviated, the HuffPo reports:

Tim Smulian, a 65-year-old South African citizen, found out on Wednesday that he will be allowed to stay in the United States for at least one year under "deferred action" on his immigration documents. Smulian is married legally to Edwin Blesch, a 71-year-old U.S. citizen, but for years has spent six months in the country, and then six months away because he could only obtain a tourist visa.

"We do see it as the beginning of the light at the end of the tunnel," Blesch said. "We were getting pretty hopeless for a while there. This is a wonderful development for us, and it takes away the day-to-day worry every morning when we get up, 'What's going to happen now?'"

In January, binational San Francisco couple Bradford Wells and Anthony Makk found out they were getting a reprieve. Let's hope this continues for the many same-sex married couples out there affected by unjust immigration laws.


  1. Guy says

    My Canadian partner and I continue to struggle with the same issue year in and year out. After four years we are running out of options. My brother is married to a lovely lady from Denmark, and of course, they’ve not had a single problem getting legal status in the US for her. Few people can fully understand the emotional, financial and logistical stress and strain for gay bi-national couples who must deal with the daily consequences of DOMA.

  2. says

    It’s great that we get good news on these binational couples stories.

    On the other hand, as Guy above attests, it must be very stressful to struggle and wonder and submit paperwork again & again. Even with examples like these giving a hopeful tinge to the process, the uncertainty must be maddening. Not all such stories are being resolved respectfully. Not that the story above can be called “resolved”, anyway.

  3. Tim says

    Thank you so much for covering our story. We appreciate the efforts made by, not only our Senators and Congressman, but also the many people like you who write about us the the plight of many other bi-national couples.

    I would like to correct an error made in your article so that others reading won’t get confused about the visa requirements. I do have a tourist visa and that allows me a maximum of six months in any one year. But then I have had to leave for a minimum of six months. Granting me “Deferred Action” has given us a full year, which is an incredible break.

  4. Tim says

    My appologies, I misread your statement and, yes, you are absoultely correct. I have only been able to obtain a tourist visa. Once retired there is very little oportunity for anyone to acquire residence here, even if one has money. Thank you once again.

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