Last night in Moscow — on our last night in the city — N and I had a homemade dinner with a traveling lesbian couple we had met in Irkutsk. Over delicious crepes (that they made) and wine, we talked about how the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) was poised to announce their decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) today, and swapped stories of immigration troubles as binational couples. The American woman had decided to leave the U.S. to be able to stay with her French partner and since both of them loved to travel, they have been continent-hopping for the past two years. But a job was waiting for the American back home, and her partner would only be able to stay in the U.S. for the duration of her tourist visa unless DOMA was overturned. As we sat and talked about the upcoming DOMA decision, we wavered between hope and not wanting to get our hopes up, just in case.
This uncertainty is what we — along with many other same-sex couples — have been living with. Last night I thought of my friends who are in the same predicament, all of those times we shared our concerns and tried to find ways around these restrictive laws. When N and I got tired of being in the rat race and decided to quit our jobs and travel for a year, we knew there was the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to come back right away unless I could secure another long-term visa. But despite this risk, we said, “Fuck it.” and did it anyway. Our friends back home reassured us that DOMA would be overturned and we would be back before we knew it, but in the back of my head I couldn’t help but think, “What if it isn’t?”
Today, after an 8-hour train ride from Moscow where I tried not to think about what was going on in the U.S., we arrived in St. Petersburg. I went online as soon as I could to find an email from the couple telling us to get some beer ready for a celebratory Facetime chat with them, now in Kiev. Additional emails from dear friends shared the same news. The New York Times confirmed everything. Facebook was full of jubilant status updates and shared articles about the SCOTUS decision on DOMA.
The fight goes on, but I want to savor this win for a little bit… With a cold Russian beer in my hand. Congratulations and cheers!