The Haunting Facebook Photo

I’m haunted by an image I saw this week when I opened my Facebook feed.



I was introduced to Inger Knudson-Judd and Philippa Knudson-Judd through my friend Lucretia several months ago as they fought to stay together.

Think about that for just a second and let it sink in.

As they fought to stay together. 

You see, our country, being very Christian-based and puritanical in its views on many things, has an issue with same-sex marriage.

Despite Inger and Philippa being legally married in Iowa, the Defence of Marriage Act, aka DOMA, means the Federal Government does not have to recognize their marriage because Philippa is not a US citizen. So in Iowa they are married, sort of…cross a state line and they aren’t, sort of- heck, even in Iowa it’s unclear thanks to DOMA. United States, my ass.

So what you see above is a family, again, being torn apart as they are forced to leave each other. They have had to leave each other over and over again as immigration separates them time and time again.

And it’s not just the two of them who feel the heartache and pain. Their 12-year old daughter suffers.

I dare you to try to ignore the pain on their faces. They had spent five weeks together and were saying goodbye, again, painfully again, as this photo was taken. No one wants to leave for the airport, but imagine leaving your spouse and not knowing when you’d get to hold her again.

It is times like this I am ASHAMED of my country. Maybe now some of you will understand a bit about what the First Lady meant. But then again, if you didn’t understand what she meant you are probably not in a minority group, or had your family torn into shreds because white, Christian, men in DC deemed it so.

So you will have to forgive me as I get very angry when the likes of Republican candidates speak of DOMA and DADT…all these strange lettered words that seem inhuman yet are nothing more than inhumane. As I remain proud of our President that has stood up to HALF of this country, of whom he desperately needs votes from, and told them he has come a long way on this issue and will continue to fight for what is RIGHT, not what his religion, or any other tells him. He’s had to search his own heart, as so many of a certain time, a certain generation, or of certain backgrounds must.

Because this photo is just one of millions that should haunt you as it haunts me.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I wonder what I would do if I did not have my loving partner in life near. Even now, as we have gone through our own hell, I’m glad to have had him by my side to go through it with…not thousands of miles away, torn from my side when I needed him most.

Yet, in this country, some people hide behind the ‘love’ of their ‘God’ to inflict this unspeakable pain on families. They hide behind their definition of family, not caring what that means for their neighbors, their friends, even members of their own family.

I don’t want to open my Facebook feed and be haunted again by a family being torn apart by politics or religion or bigotry or evil. There is no excuse for what your belief has done here. None. I say that with a clear conscience because my beliefs take away NOTHING from you- they CERTAINLY do not rip you from the arms of your spouse or your CHILD.

There are now legal battles to be fought, some against the current administration. Luckily they are working their best to get through this election and out the other side so they can continue their good faith efforts (like DADT) in making GOOD on the President’s journey on this issue. I want to see it in action, and given some major steps in his first term, I have every confidence we will see more in his second. Understandably, others want it faster. I can not fault them for this at all. And I lend my voice to theirs in demanding promises be kept.

But the thought of a Republican in the Oval office makes me weep for families like Inger and Phillipa. While my family would suffer as well, I can’t imagine what others would go through. At the very least, I would still have my spouse by my side.

Spare me your opposition to same-sex marriage and why you think you are right. Because all I need is this one photo to show you just how horribly, horribly wrong you are. I can not think of a single justification for tearing a family apart and causing this much hurt, this much pain, this much suffering…ever. And so help me if you really do, still, believe same-sex marriage is wrong…may this photo haunt you a thousand fold what it has haunted me, and may it remind you every single day what your beliefs have done to innocent Americans.



  1. How can anybody in the world argue against the creation of more love? The world can be a miserable, cold place everybody deserves the right to legally partner up, our spouses, our families, they are our shelters from the storms of life. All deserve such shelter.

  2. My heart breaks for them and anger boils in my blood.
    I don’t understand countries that do not let families stay together because some centuries old text was ambiguous about the subject.

    In their reality I see my future. My home country of Australia doesn’t allow same-sex marriage or civil union. My host country of Germany does. If I, as a lesbian, marry a German I can stay here but we could never move to Australia. If my partner is from elsewhere in the world then we might have nowhere we could go where we could be a family.

    So much injustice and all because of a thousand year old book.

  3. Heartcrushing that’s the only word that comes to mind, seeing that picture and reading the story. I can not begin to imagine the amount of suffering that this family has to go through. Not because of religion, because as a Christian I can assure you there’s nothing Christian about these laws or the people who make them and strive to uphold them. It’s human ignorance and hate that prevail in these people and they (ab)use religion to mask it.

    I for one hope and pray that we as a world, can step beyond this ridiculousness and start loving each other as He told us to do. For now I will pray for this family that they may be reunited for good soon and that this needless suffering will end.

  4. I’m of an age that within my lifetime it was illegal for couples of mixed races to marry. Today, denying these couples marriage rights is considered unconstitutional nationwide. It is way beyond time to extend that right, with all the privileges I have as a spouse in a heterosexual marriage, to same-sex couples.

  5. And sadly, this is exactly what could happen in North Carolina on May 8 when we vote on Amendment One, banning same sex marriage in our state constitution. The ramifications of this amendment is written harms families and children and our state. It’s deplorable.

  6. Bra-vo.

    You boiled it down perfectly with this very simple line:

    “I say that with a clear conscience because my beliefs take away NOTHING from you- they CERTAINLY do not rip you from the arms of your spouse or your CHILD.”

  7. I agree that the issue of same sex marriage shouldn’t be a reason to have people forced apart. The part that I hope everyone understands is that no one can automatically stay in the US just because they are married to someone from this country. There are several processes you need to go through with INS. My mother is a Canadian citizen and has lived here for over 40 years and my brother-in-law is from New Zealand. Both of them have to follow all the laws and regulations of being in this country legally. They both have green cards, pay taxes, etc.

    I think there may be more to this story than meets the eye. No matter how Hollywood portrays becoming a citizen when you marry a US citizen, that simply is not true.

  8. When folks like to act as if this is not such a big deal, I like to remind them that it was not so very long ago that my own marriage to my Indian husband was illegal in many, many states until the Loving Law was passed in 1967. So, when folks shrug and ask why I care so much about LGBT rights so much when it doesn’t affect me, it makes me angry at how soon we forget.

    And for the record, the fact that my husband is married to me legally did, in fact, make his road through INS that much easier. I understand what one of the commenters was saying — yes, it is not an automatic benefit to being married to a US Citizen, but it does smooth the path.

  9. Jeffrey Isbell says:

    Laws should serve people, not the other way around.

  10. I could write so many words about how right you are, how wrong they are, how terrible it is. But I will just say simply, “yes.”

    When I stand next year as a bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding to her girlfriend I will cry not only at their happiness, but that their love isn’t accepted beyond the narrow boundary lines of their state and the narrow mindedness of others.

  11. I see it as an illegal alien issue. Where does it say lesbians get front-of-the-line privileges? There are a lot of people applying to live in the USA. Tell her to get in line with the rest and her application will be reviewed in due course…

    Oh, and by the way, Facebook appeals are so last year….

  12. Thank you, Queen of Spain, for such a thoughtful blog posting. I would like to make one correction to one statement you make here. When you say that “…DOMA, means the Federal Government does not have to recognize their marriage because Philippa is not a US citizen,” you make a mistake on the information provided. DOMA does NOT mean that the USFG will not recognize their marriage because Philippa is not a US citizen. DOMA means that the USFG can only recognize marriages between a man and a woman regardless of their nationalities. This information is very important because, as you can see on some of the comments about your article, people are still confused and uneducated on immigration laws. The main problem here is that this couple, like myself and my husband, are of the same sex, and DOMA prevents the USFG from granting them the same rights available to opposite-sex couples to pursue a citizenship path based on their legal marriage in Iowa.

    To Tina: You say “The part that I hope everyone understands is that no one can automatically stay in the US just because they are married to someone from this country.” Well, you are very wrong about this. I suggest you inform yourself well before making sweeping statements about laws with which you are unfamiliar. If you marry a person of the opposite sex, the USFG automatically grants you the rights to enter a petition for your opposite sex foreign spouse to become a permanent resident of the US. They are not asked to be separated from one another until the petition is granted (which it almost always is). Yes, there is a process to which opposite sex couples must adhere, but there are no obstacles to them other than bureaucracy. For same-sex bi-national couples, the story is quite different. Our petitions are simply denied with a stamp acknowledging that Immigration does not discriminate against same sex couples, but DOMA does; and because of DOMA, Immigration cannot proceed with any same sex couple’s petitions, regardless of their merits. What happens next? The picture on this article answers that question. Bi-national same sex couples are singled out and discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. Please, check the USCIS website and see for yourself what is required to immigrate to this country based on marriage before making any further assumptions.

    To daleandersen: Your comment is absolutely uninformed, uneducated, and extremely insensitive. Here is what you said: “I see it as an illegal alien issue. Where does it say lesbians get front-of-the-line privileges? There are a lot of people applying to live in the USA. Tell her to get in line with the rest and her application will be reviewed in due course…” OMG! First of all, DOMA is not an illegal alien issue. DOMA is discrimination enshrined into the law. DOMA is institutionalized discrimination directed against a minority group and should not be part of any law in a country founded upon principals of equality. If the couple in the picture was a man and a woman, they could apply for a green card and immediately remain together in this country, go through the interview process and once approved, the foreign spouse would wait 5 years to apply for citizenship. Lesbians do not get to the front of the line, opposite sex couples do. All we want is to be treated equally, to have the same rights as any other couple in the US. She is married to an American citizen. What the USFG is telling her is that her American citizen spouse is actually a second class citizen with no rights to sponsor her wife for citizenship. She can’t “get in the line with the rest” because DOMA prevents USCIS from accepting her American citizen wife’s application to sponsor her. I suggest that before you jump to uneducated conclusions, inform yourself on the issues about which you clearly know nothing and then make a comment.

    To anyone who wishes to understand this issue better I suggest you go to and read the stories of many same sex bi-national couples. The site also has a lot of information about DOMA and the immigration issue same sex bi-national couples face in the US. I am a Brazilian national living in the US for nearly 20 years, legally married to my husband (a American-born citizen) since 2008 and together as a couple for over 16 years. We have spent exorbitant amounts of money in legal fees in the attempt to remain together in this country. If the blatant discrimination against homosexuals did not exist, I would be an American citizen by now, as my two sisters are, because they married opposite sex American citizens. I work and pay taxes, my husband works and pay taxes. My husband has petitioned to the USCIS for my green card and we were even been interviewed by immigration officers. However, the reality for same sex bi-national couples remains the same. Our petition was denied because of DOMA. If it were not for DOMA, USCIS would have had no issue granting me a green card based on our legal marriage.
    DOMA is the problem and we must strike it down. The USFG’s job is not to discriminate, but to protect the people. All people, not a select group. We need to have more allies like the writer of this blog bringing this issue up to the people. Thank you Queen of Spain for your support!

  13. I wish every State could join Mr. Obama in his support of Gay marriage. There are much grander, more serious issues at stake both within the US and globally. As a Canadian I proud that we allow gays and lesbians to marry- we seem to be doing alright.

  14. inger knudson says:

    thank you all for your support and our deepest thanks to Erin for hitting the nail on the head. (tina…listen to sergio….trust me after more than 41/2 years of trying we are well aware of due process and that we have no rights within it. this is NOT Hollywood…if it were …we’d look fancier. this is my reality. and that of my legal wife and our daughter. we get to live it 24/7. just do me a favor and think about that for a moment before dismissing us so casually.)


  1. […] Article FROM SPONSOR- Christian Games for kids-fun and faith based curriculum GET YOUR FREE PASS […]

  2. […] I read about Inger Knudson-Judd and Philippa Knudson-Judd through my friend Erin. Even though they are legally married, immigration Is FUBARed and forces […]

  3. […] from Queen of Spain’s blog, by Erin Kotecki […]

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