| AMY TANNENBAUM
WHILE MANY ANXIOUSLY awaited the outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, the future of Adam and Luke McCash’s entire relationship hung in the balance. The DOMA ruling would decide whether or not they would be able to stay in the same country together for much longer. “We followed the news closely, more so than our friends,” says Adam. “It was really a huge thing for us when it was passed.”
Growing up in Northeast Ohio, Adam moved to New Zealand in 2006 due to feeling alienated by the 2004 presidential election and the passing of Prop 8. He moved with his mom, a New Zealand citizen, and his pup Emma. Adam explains, “There was something quite exciting about moving to another country like New Zealand that was already offering full gay rights.”
Six month later, on Valentine’s Day of 2007, he met Luke, a New Zealand native. They had a union ceremony in 2009, and the next year the universe propelled Adam to return to the States – bringing Luke with him. They ultimately relocated to Columbus.
Adam and Luke went into the move with the expectation that they would be in the U.S. no longer than four years. The move was especially hard on Luke, who was leaving his home country. “It’s a very hard thing to do, to move away from the country where all your family is, into a country where you’ve never lived before, in a country that feels uninviting,” explains Luke. “I am married to someone, and the government doesn’t even care about it.”
When DOMA was overturned in 2013, it changed everything. “It happened a lot sooner than we expected,” says Adam, “It’s been a remarkable thing to say we’ve been part of the civil rights movement for gays and lesbians. We were part of that voice and part of that movement.”
For Luke, the overturning of DOMA meant he could stay in the States with Adam, and the “four year plan” was less definitive now. “There were lots of tears of joy and celebration for us when DOMA was overturned,” says Luke. “It meant so much.”
Adam and Luke got married just after the decision at the end of July, but as an international couple, they had a long process ahead of them. “We had to document proof from the year we met, until now, that we had accounts together, we had rented apartments together, anything and everything that proved that we were a legitimate couple,” says Adam. Luckily Adam had the incredible foresight to keep all necessary documents neatly filed.
The couple then had to be interviewed in person, while reviewing the documentation. There was even the possibility they would be interviewed separately. “It’s a very nerve-wracking process,” explains Adam. “To think the legitimacy of our relationship was being reduced to a single interview by someone shuffling papers.”
To their surprise, the interview process turned out to be very quick and easy – just a few basic questions. Much shorter than the typical four month waiting period, Adam and Luke went in for the interview on a Monday, and received the green card the following Friday, on the seven year anniversary of the day they met:
Valentine’s Day. “The universe has been very kind to us, telling us we’re on the right path,” says Adam.
Looking back, making the big move across the world to New Zealand was a challenge for Adam, but the purpose was fully realized later in finding Luke. The couple, who own a home together in Olde Towne East, now loves calling Columbus home, and. “I think Columbus is the most gay-friendly place I’ve ever lived,” says Luke. “It feels very comfortable here, we really like it here.”
“If home is defined by where the people you love are, then it was easy to make home in New Zealand,” says Adam, “But Emma is happy to be back in the States, she loves the snow.”