But announcing that DOMA will no longer be defended in court is not the same thing as striking it down. As long as the future of DOMA is unclear, so is fate of the Philadelphia couple that has become the angst-ridden faces of how DOMA affects binational gay families. “The number one thing binational couples can do in order to continue to advance the historic progress that we’re seeing on DOMA … is to share their stories,” advises Soloway. “We need to get their stories out there so people understand who they are and how they are impacted.”
Ironically, sharing his story with the press might have made things even worse for Tanumihardja back in Indonesia if he does, in the end, get deported anyway. “[My family] learned about [my sexuality] from CNN,” says Tanumihardja. “There’s a lot of reaction about that.” The family even asked Tanuminhardja to not be friends with a younger male relative on Facebook so no one would “tease him or beat him up” for being related to a gay man.
Like any engaged couple about to go for it, Tanumihardja and Andersen have one thing going for them that looms larger than fear: hope.
“Finally, after nine years being in this country trying to find someone to spend the rest of my life with, I found someone,” says Tanumihardja. “I believe he showed me his true love … We are getting officially married on June 12 and spend the rest of our lives together here in Philadelphia.”
To learn more about the DOMA Project, go to stopthedeportations.com.