Ruiz, an interior designer who graduated from Design and Architecture High School in Miami and Florida International University, could move to Mexico with Zavala, where their American marriage would be recognized.
Zavala says that’s an unfair choice. “He shouldn’t be pushed away from his family because his country doesn’t recognize our marriage,” he said.
The DOMA Project recently posted a seven-minute video about Ruiz and Zavala to YouTube, Yohandel & Daniel: DOMA Threatens Young Love.
“We spoke with the lawyer and he asked if we were willing to participate and be advocates in his organization,” Zavala said. “It’s a better idea to do something than to sit and wait for something to happen. We thought this video would put some pressure to move things forward.”
Gay marriage equality is now legal in nine states and the District of Columbia, as well as Canada, Argentina, much of Mexico, parts of Europe and South Africa. Thirty-eight states, including Florida, have anti-gay marriage laws or constitutional amendments banning recognition of same-sex weddings.
There is a movement in Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which also permits states to not recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere. South Florida lawmakers Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson are among 156 co-sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act, according to Freedom to Marry, a New York-based gay-rights group.
Before Congress ever votes on full repeal of DOMA, a portion of the law might be tossed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Last month, justices agreed to hear the case of Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old New Yorker who got hit with $363,053 in inheritance taxes after her wife, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. Windsor and Spyer, together 44 years, were married in 2007 in Canada and their home state recognized the marriage, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Windsor sued the U.S. government and last October a federal appeals court sided with her and declared DOMA unconstitutional.
When the Supreme Court agreed to hear Windsor’s case, justices said they would focus exclusively on DOMA’s Section 3 — the very section used by Homeland Security to deny residency for same-sex spouses.
“The law is clearly in a state of flux,” Soloway said. “It’s headed for its ultimate decision, ultimate ruling in June.”