The Supreme Court has the fate of same-sex couples in its hands. Will the court stand with equality and rule that marriage, and the benefits that come with it, should be available to all couples regardless of sexuality? Or will it uphold the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8?
For some same-sex couples, the issue is made even more complicated by our country’s immigration laws. In his video Op-Ed “Eric and Juan,” Jens Erik Gould introduces us to a same-sex couple who got married in 2008, during the brief time when gay marriage was legal in California. Though Eric and Juan have built a life together here, DOMA prevents Juan from applying for a green card through marriage. It is among the many federal benefits the two are denied.
“Juan has had so much adversity in his life,” Gould says. “Someone tried to kill him in Mexico because he was gay. Now, not only does he still experience discrimination for being gay in the U.S., he's also living undocumented here. Many people in this situation hide in the shadows. But despite all the adversity and risk, he's publicly fighting for what he believes in because he wants to be an example for his community.”
Gould, whose “Bravery Tapes” showcase profiles of human courage, chose to document Eric and Juan because they are "refusing to surrender to their fears [and] they're marching not for one cause but two.” Jakub Kasztalski was the director of photography on this project, and Greg Reitman edited the video.