Mexico City newspaper El Mundo reports that the mayor of San Angelo, a small town in the shepherding region of Texas, has resigned from his post and moved to Mexico with his gay partner, who also happens to be an illegal immigrant.
J.W. Lown abandoned his mayoral post and fled to Mexico with his lover because they couldn't stay together legally in the United States. "No United States citizen should have to face this kind of decision," Lown said. "I left my home. I left my ranch. I left a promising political career."
Residents of San Angelo were left shocked by the turn of events, but the decision that Lown was forced to make is not a unique one. Many U.S. citizens must choose between staying or leaving the country with their partners because they are unable to gain residency for their loved ones—unlike heterosexual couples who can marry and petition for citizenship. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) says that an estimated 36 thousand Americans are faced with this dilemma.
The Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, prohibits immigration officials from recognizing gay marriages, even if they are performed in states where gay marriage has been legalized.