Committing your life to another human being marks the beginning of a flourishing new existence. Whether it is legally-binding matrimony or a domestic partnership, commitment is intended to strengthen a relationship.
But could you promise your devotion to another person, knowing your choice could seriously suffocate your lifestyle, rendering your partner unable to earn an income, have health insurance, or even be able to drive a car? Could you make that decision, knowing this choice could possibly carry on for the rest of your lives, with no way out?
For Daniel Zavala and Yohandel Ruiz, their union thrust them into a standstill. The two are trapped in legal purgatory, an arduous battle between immigration laws and the Defense of Marriage Act.
Zavala, 28, is a Mexican citizen. Ruiz, 38, is a Cuban-born American citizen. Zavala’s 90-day tourist visa expired last year, shortly after his nuptials to Ruiz in May 2012, and he’s been living in Coral Gables illegally. If Zavala ever leaves the United States before obtaining legal status, he’ll be banned from returning ever again.