The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has called for stopping the deportation of Anton Tanumihardj (pictured on the right), who hails from Indonesia and is married to Brian Andersen, a U.S. citizen.
The two men were legally married in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., but last week, Tanumihardj, who has resided in Philadelphia for the past nine years, was denied a reprieve from deportation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) office.
Tanumihardj may be deported from the U.S. and his husband, Brian, as early as January 13, 2012. GLAAD claims that Tanumihardj's "physical safety would also be put at great risk should he be required to return to Indonesia, where openly gay people are persecuted for being who they are."
Acting GLAAD President Mike Thompson said in a statement: “There’s simply no reason that a person should be forced to choose between the person and the country they love. The Obama Administration has taken important steps to protect gay and lesbian binational families, but has ultimately failed to ensure that those steps are being followed by deportation officers. The consequences are earth-shattering to families like Anton and Brian, who simply want a chance to be together in the place they call home.”
Senior officials in the Obama administration have said that individuals like Tanumihardj should not be considered a priority for deportation and that cases like his must be set aside for compelling humanitarian reasons. Yet, the ICE still plans to deport Tanumihardj.
“Brian means everything to me. He is by my side in every single situation,” said Tanumihardja. “I can never be separated from him. I love him so much. I will never find anyone else like him. If I could speak with President Obama, I would tell him that I belong in this country because I have a family here – my husband, Brian, and my mother-in-law, Debbie. I love this country very much. I just don’t want it to separate me forever from the people I love most.”