"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

'I have written this in response to the white feather campaign. My husband has asked me to share it with you.'

'I am the foreign spouse of a British citizen. I have known my husband for fourteen years. Allow me to fill you in on our history.

'My husband has been my best friend since I was nineteen years old. I am now thirty-three. I am an American citizen living in Nebraska, in the United States. Your current laws separate me from the man I adore, and a family I have grown to love.

'I have said that I have known my husband for fourteen years. We have been the closest, the very best of friends. We have always known we are in love, but we were skirting that issue, afraid of the complications of an intercontinental relationship. Two years ago we said, to hell with it. Let’s go for it, let’s get engaged, let’s get married.

'I have thus far neglected to say that my husband is my first love, and the only man I’ve ever loved.

'We met many years ago, on my first visit to the UK, and fell for each other instantly. I was afraid, even then, to form a tie with a man so far away. The laws were different then, and we neglected to look at them. Now we suffer the repercussions, because your immigration laws changed the week after we became engaged.

'My husband asked me to marry him in Wookey Hole Caves, in the third cavern, and I was so happy to accept that my knees went weak. Then, a few days later, the laws changed, yet I was still thrilled to be with the man I’d loved for so long.

'Your current immigration laws prevent us from living together; they prevent us from being and forming a family, from holding each other at night, from sharing in person our joys and sorrows. We live to see each other on webcam; we stare at each other, still stunned by the miracle of our love.

'Each of us sleeps alone at night, with “I love you” still ringing in our ears, but clutching a pillow because the one we love is so far away, and we need something to hold onto.

'We married May 18th, 2013, in Nebraska, where I was born and raised. My husband was terrified that he wouldn’t be allowed into the country because of his purpose in coming here, but something, perhaps fate in the guise of a kind customs agent, let him in.

'It was the happiest day of our lives. We were allowed, because of his work schedule, two and a half weeks together. We did not see each other until October of that year. That time we were allowed ten days together. All of our days together are magic.

'I did not see him until the following May, when we planned to celebrate our first anniversary on his parents’ estate. Thanks again to a kind border agent, I was allowed in, and we had six glorious weeks together. We have the full support of my husband’s (and now my) family.

'A few days after my return to the States, another blow fell. The income threshold was not lowered, despite the fact that it is well above the minimum full-time wage in the United Kingdom. Third-party support is also denied to us. We are devastated, but still, despite the rules, despite Theresa May, not without hope that some shred of luck may come our way.

'If my husband, as a public employee (he is a library assistant), was making the income the government’s own careers website says he could expect, I would be allowed a visa to come and live. I hope every day that this may happen. I am a university graduate, with a respectable CV and many skills, and I would be happy to pay taxes and contribute to a country that I have come to love.

'My husband is searching for a job that would allow him to bring me over. As it is, his options are to find a better paying job, or to move to continental Europe, pay taxes there, and get a visa to bring me over. The rest of the EU have much more reasonable and sympathetic rules. Perhaps they respect that families are being divided and torn apart by the current laws in the United Kingdom.

'I will end by asking you to cease tearing spouses and soul mates from the ones they love. There is so much more to say, but I cannot. I am moved to tears by the distance between myself and the one I love most in the world.'

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