To hear some people tell it, the truly Christian thing to do with longstanding gay couples (where one is a US citizen and one is foreign born) is to cruelly separate them from each other for no good reason other than to satisfy the majority's irrational prejudice against them.
But as more and more people are agreeing, it's reprehensible to be this willfully and needlessly cruel, because it serves no good purpose, at all, and it only breaks hearts.
On Friday Attorney General Eric Holder asked the Board of Immigration Appeals to set aside their ruling deporting Irishman Paul Wilson Dorman back to Ireland under because the Defense of Marriage Act is being challenged in court and may ultimately be set aside.
That's potentially good news for Dorman, but - other than by implication - it does little to protect the rights of other gay Irishmen and women in bi-national marriages or civil unions facing similar threats. And, let's be clear, there are thousands of them.
Reaction from conservative blogs, who monitor advances in gay rights as though their lives depended on it, was swift. In the comments section of the news story on FoxNews.com the following reaction was one representative post:
Commentator 'Ecarr' wrote: "So, Holder is not only not going to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, he's now actively seeking marital status on behalf of this fudge packer? What the HELL has this country gotten itself into with this administration?"
Well, since he asks, the administration is defending the equality of all Americans from the tyranny of heartless bigots who would remove the rights of all the people they dislike.
When they are posting anonymously, many conservative commentators feel free to express themselves in unvarnished ways that meek it clear what's in their hearts: anti-gay prejudice.
In February Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, after determining that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, "as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment."
Holder wrote, "the President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional."
The implications of those sentiments is clear enough. There'll be no help from the GOP controlled Congress. So the challenge for Obama is, in the words of Spike Lee, to do the right thing. The executive branch can and should act.
So far the administration's movements in this area have been case by case, and frequently insultingly incoherent. There is no need for this. Longstanding gay couples who are in civil unions or marriages should qualify for immigration purposes in exactly the same way as heterosexuals. It is past time for the administration to say so.
Your basic rights should not be upheld or dismissed at the whim of of a low level government functionary forced to make a choice the administration refuses to.
We already know, because they baldly stated, that DOMA discriminates and violates the equal protection rights of gay couples. At what point will the administration act and follow the implications of their own findings?