Carrie, Claire and Ariana at their 2006 commitment ceremony From the start, Carrie and Claire agreed that Claire would move to California, where Carrie’s family lives. Because of her physical disabilities, a move to the United Kingdom was not possible for Carrie. Together, the couple pursued every possibility offered by the immigration law to find a way for Claire to legally live in the U.S. They looked into H-1B visas and student visas. The couple contacted Immigration Equality and confirmed they had looked into the only ways to proceed. They were one couple of the thousands of binational couples whose love knew no borders, and whose commitment to each other was boundless, but they were face-to-face with the reality that the Defense Of Marriage Act legally keeps them apart.
Carrie and Claire are legally married. Their marriage is recognized under California state law. Ariana sees Claire as her stepmother. Carrie’s family has welcomed Claire with open arms. And still, the federal government sees Carrie, an Air Force veteran, and the love of her life, her wife, Claire, as nothing but strangers to each other. Denying this loving, committed, married couple equal recognition of their marriage has devastating consequences, not only for Claire and Carrie, but also for Ariana who is now 18, and has been deprived of having step-mom Claire in her life for more than five years.
Beyond being denied the ability to live together (which, in and of itself, is excruciatingly painful) is the fact that the laws have denied Carrie’s daughter the loving presence of Claire during her teen years. Ariana and Claire are virtual strangers, Carrie feels fragmented by the split. The years lost to this loving family can never be recaptured. The Tucker-Pollards only want what other married couples have—the ability to live with their family, together.
The impact of the Defense of Marriage Act on Ariana cannot be ignored. When lawmakers passed DOMA they failed to consider its impact on the children of binational couples. The fight to repeal DOMA is a fight to preserve marriages and families.