Australia Threatening Binational Same-Sex Couples With Deportation Following Marriage Ban

Matthew Hynd and Ali Choundry first met online in 2010, when Ali was studying Zoology at the University of Queensland in Australia and Matt was working stateside with the New York State Department of Health. After many months of phone calls, texts and Skype dates, the pair met in Australia, where they immediately fell in love and decided to build a life together.

e316b_452133Matt and Ali were the sixth official couple to be married in Australia when a law allowing same-sex marriage took effect in March 2012. They plan to celebrate four years together this Valentine’s Day, but Australia’s recent ban of the law threatens to rip them apart before then.

One week after moving into their first apartment together, Ali received notification from the Australian government that his student visa would not be renewed because the state considers him as “not in a long-standing relationship with [his] sponsor.” Finding that his marital status had virtually changed overnight, Ali is now threatened with deportation.

As a Pakistani man, Ali says he fears life imprisonment as an openly gay man in his home country:

When I first received the letter that my case had been denied, I was actually thinking more of Matt. I received the letter on Friday and we had a surprise birthday planned for him on the Saturday (even though his birthday wasn’t till the 18th). I kept it all to myself to protect him and at least let him have that little bit of happiness. It’s all really poetic, really… I think.When I finally told him on Sunday, we were still both in shock and not really reacting except for bursts of tears between not feeling much.

After spending over $15,000 on legal fees and visa filing charges, the couple took their story to crowd-sourcing site Pozible and was surprised by overwhelming support. Though they’ve raised enough funds to have Ali’s application reviewed by a Migration Review Tribunal, their future is still not secure. Australia must now decide if it thinks five years of a gay relationship is “long-standing” enough to grant citizenship.

[Photo: Pozible]

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  • jimbryant

    I wonder what Australia’s gay community is going to do about this. Go to a pub and drink more alcohol? Stage a dance party?

  • MikeE

    @jimbryant: Have you ever tried saying something supportive? or showing any sign of empathy?

    You know, your posting habits, the things you write here, are betraying a certain sociopathic tendency.

    You must truly be one of the most unhappy, ugly, bitter people around.

    I’m feeling charitable because of the holidays… please, try saying something supportive just once before the year ends.

    And by the way, who the f*ck do you think has been contributing to this couple’s crowdsourcing? Christian homophobes? I’d dare say it’s the very Australian LGBT community you so blithely dismiss.

  • argleflarglebargle

    @jimbryant: Let me say this as an actual australian LGBT person… do you realise that we’ve been trying to get gay marriage legalised for the better part of 5 years now? (Probably more but that’s how long I personally have been aware of it in my country)

    We’ve rallied, written, voted, we’ve done what we can but the problem we have is that the people in charge of the 2 political parties in power won’t let gay marriage pass. One of them is known by the nickname of “The Mad Monk” and that one’s the Prime Minister, so unless we can convince him that god is wrong we got no chance there. He won’t allow a concience vote among his party members either, everyone on his political party must vote no on gay marriage related issues until he’s booted out.

    It’s easy to say we need to do something, it’s hard to realise that we’ve been trying, we’re just hitting a big wall of bigotted beurocracy… kind of like every other country on the planet with anti-gay laws. Your comment is like going to Russia and asking those gays what they’re doing to change their government is doing and if it’s going to involve Vodka. It’s not that simple, if it was that simple we wouldn’t be having these kinds of problems right now.

  • alanj

    Another ill informed comment from this jimbryant guy. At first I thought he was a particularly unfunny comedy act but now I realise he actually is a deeply disturbed troll with a limited perspective on most subjects.

    In the case of Australia his opinion seems to have been informed by a weekend at Mardi Gras and walking down Oxford St. Apart from the fact that Sydney’s LGBT community is far more diverse than one Saturday night in Oxford St he conveniently forgets that Australia has large LGBT communities in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

    Australia is slowly changing on gay marriage, opinion pols show the majority in favour ( particularly younger demos), and whilst ACT was a set back it did clearly make Gay Marriage a Federal issue. With Labour now in favour and some strong cross- party action the Mad Monk may have to face a challenge sooner than he thought.

    Now I expect that jimbryant will respond with a meanly written and highly offensive comment, as he often does when challenged- queerty can’t you do something?

  • Dakotahgeo

    @MikeE: jimbryant is a prime example of why abortion is a legitimate answer. It boggles my mind as to how many anti-human people we have in the world. Some mother did not follow through on her drug prescriptions like she should have when she was pregnant. Pray for this family. (Actually I am against abortion but it would behoove some Drs. and families to neuter/spay their ________!).

  • jimbryant

    Can you hear the world’s smallest violin playing? Yes, that’s me playing it.

    The problems with Australia’s gays are severe and fundamental. Firstly, they sold their soul to the Labor Party (Australia’s left-of-center party). This meant that the Labor Party could do and say anything – including oppose gay marriage – and the gays in Aussie Land would still support them. Such blind allegiance is a form of selling out, and Australia’s gays are guilty of it.

    Secondly, Australia’s gays have what I call “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by a sense of “well, Australians find drag queens funny so they must be gay-friendly”. Such a ridiculously misguided sense within Australia’s gay community has lulled them into a false sense of security.

    Thirdly, Australia’s gay are highly feminized. They don’t believe in masculine homosexuality but in a feminine homosexuality. Such femininity weakens a cause.

    And, lastly, most of Australia’s gays are not very activist at all. Their main aim is to have fun at a bar and sex club afterwards.

  • argleflarglebargle

    @jimbryant: Oh Jim, let’s get some facts straight from someone who actually lives in Australia and know’s what he’s talking about.
    No one sold out to the labor party. In fact most gays didn’t support the Labor Party’s anti gay policy, and in fact we repeatedly called out Julia Gillard on it any chance we could (Including several members buying tickets to a special charity dinner with her just so they could convert her). Also, had Labor gotten in with Rudd leading them then we’d have gay marriage right now. We don’t have it because Labor lost because the leadership of the party was changing every other week and no one trusted them! We supported them when they said they’d support us, when they didn’t then we called them out. Next time you want to make a claim about how we felt regarding the political party in power, actuaqlly know what you’re talking about.

    I’ve lived in Australia my entire life, I’ve NEVER seen a drag queen in person. I don’t even know where they are in this country and I’ve looked. Also over 50% of the nation is in favour of gay marriage and a large amount of us are just in general gay friendly, so do me a favour and try not to generalise in that way.
    Third, that statement could literally apply to ANY gay group on the planet. The cliché of the fem gay is a cliché for a reason and it happens in every country.

    There are no sex clubs here, I’ve looked, I can’t find them. I’ve been to a rally we’ve had, they have several of them a year. Hell the Mardi Gras we have is in essence the biggest Pro-gay rally we have, and it’s one of the most famous Mardi Gras in the world (We used to put it on the TV, we were that badass)

    If you’re going to talk about the attitudes of the gays in my country, actually know what the hell you’re talking about and maybe you won’t look like such a moron.

  • stadacona

    Australia is the most anti-gay Western country. From the cops to politicians to the bogans, the place is just nasty. But as long as there are beautiful men on the beaches that country gets a pass from gay travellers.

  • TheNewEnergyDude

    @jimbryant: I wish every single one of the rest of us could come up to you huck a big wet lugee right in your f%#king face.

    You’re a f$&kig douchebag. [email protected]#T!

  • 2eo

    @Dakotahgeo: The highest relevant search for his name is my post asking him to kill himself.


  • Vanessa R. Renzi

    what Jeremy responded I cant believe that people able to profit $5353 in one month on the computer. you can find out more…

  • Jonty Coppersmith


    I’m in favor of allowing the woman to decide for herself what is best for her in her circumstances.

  • Jonty Coppersmith

    What would happen if legislators voted their conscience anyway?

  • argleflarglebargle

    @Jonty Coppersmith: As far as I’m aware, they can’t. At least not if they’re in the liberal party, the leader has to allow a conscience vote and if they don’t, they go by the party policy… it’s obscene really because many on Abbot’s side have said they’d vote yes on gay marriage but they can’t cos no concience vote is happening… this is my basic understanding of the situation

  • alanj

    @argleflarglebargle: Yes that’s my understanding of the situation with the Liberal Party – until Abbott allows a conscience vote they all have vote along party lines. Interestingly Abbott’s own front bench is not 100% behind him, with Turnbull, the person most people prefer as PM, coming out in favour of Marriage Equality.

    The other issue for this couple is the demonising of overseas visitors out staying their visas, it’s particularly toxic in News Ltd publications along with refugees. It’s brave of them to publicly put their cards on the table and hopefully the public will see that bad laws and actions seriously affect real people and their lives. Unfortunately both major parties don’t have a good track record in this area- so maybe engaging with The Greens will work, somebody like Adam Bandt ( Melbourne’s openly gay Federal Member) would surely be on side.

    I’m not going to give anymore oxygen to this sites misguided trolls who have very limited understandings of Australia’s diverse LGBT community.

  • jimbryant

    Australia is one of the most redneck and homophobic countries in the world. Australians only gave blacks the right to vote in the 1960’s. LOL – yep, the right to vote. Before then, blacks in Australia couldn’t even vote. It was like South Africa under apartheid.

    There was even a White Australia Policy until about 40 years ago.

    As for the gay scene is Australia today, it’s pathetic. It consists of queens who train their chicken legs in the gym by day and attend dance parties by night. Their exclamations often include words like “daaaahling, screech, trrragic”.

    I predict that Australians will never get marriage equality. Sad but true.

  • jimbryant

    Oh, and let’s not forget the role of the Labor Party in Australia in preventing marriage equality. The Labor Party is Australia’s version of the Democrats. About 6 years ago,, all states in Australia had Labor governments. Not one attempted to bring in gay marriage. Not one.

    The Labor Party in Australia is beholden to a socially conservative migrant constituency which includes migrants from southern Europe and the Middle East who are not favourably disposed towards gay marriage.

    The other thing is that gay men in Australia have become very girly. They have basically surrendered to women.

  • bellthecat

    Several misconceptions here.

    First, the couple were not “married”. Equal marriage only came to the AUstralian Capital Territory for one week in November this year before the high court banned it. Otherwise in the rest of Australia, the 2004 federal marriage act bans equal marriage from all of the rest of AUstralia.

    The couple actually had a civil union under legislation introduced in Queensland in 2012 (which was subsequently repealed).

    The immigration issue for them is less around their relationship and more around the fact that their house in Brisbane was destroyed in the floods last year and immigration documents sent to that address were never received or actioned.

    Australian de facto legislation is clear, if you can prove that you have been in a committed relationship of at least two years standing with an Australian citizen you can and will be permitted to be a long term resident of the country. I know this because two years ago I successfully applied for this and moved here with my Australian partner.

    So, the couple will be appealing and most people here think that appeal should be successful. Worrying for them yes, but not the Grand Guignol this article implies.

    Finally, Adam Bandt is a passionate supporter of gay rights (as are all the greens in the Australian upper and lower house) but he is not himself gay.

  • bellthecat


    Hmm, you seem to be rather confused Jim Bryant. Individual states cannot legislate for marriage equality. There is a slim chance they could legislate for a separate institution of gay marriage administered at the state level (heterosexual marriage is a federal issue) but the recent attempt to do so in the ACT showed emphatically that even that is inconsistent with the 2004 federal marriage act.

    So the only way to change the law would be to amend the federal legislation. This was tried several times in the last parliament with bills introduced by both the Greens and the Labor Party. However, the last Labor government was a minority government reliant on support of independent MPs. ALP and Green Party policies all supported equal marriage on a conscience vote. However the Coalition who were in opposition at the time voted as a bloc against every piece of legislation. So, even if Julia Gillard had supported marriage equality and even if Labor and the Greens had voted as a bloc in favour of marriage equality, the bills would all have failed.

    In September there was an election and the Coalition won. The largest party in the Coalition, the Liberals, did not campaign on defending marriage this time and though the Prime Minister (Tony Abbott) is personally opposed there is the possibility they will allows conscience vote if legislation is introduced. Labor frontbencher Tanya PLibersek has said she will introduce legislation in the new year so we will see then whether that is successful.

  • jimbryant

    The other thing about Australia is that its population has become more socially conservative as a result of two things: the privileges given to women and the influx of Chinese migrants.

    Whenever you give privileges to women, society becomes more hostile to men in general. This includes homosexual men. Whenever you allow migrants from socially conservative countries like China, it makes your own country more conservative.

  • Jonty Coppersmith


    Can you say “misogynist” boys and girls?

  • alanj

    @alanj: As predicted the troll has responded with more frankly offensive opinion. The only good thing is that with such a strongly negative view of Australia and it’s LGBT community we’re not likely to see him venture away from his keyboard and visit our shores any time soon.

    None of the comments help in furthering the cause for the two guys in this article, however I am aware that the LGBT community is trying to assist them in their quest to stay here. I’m requesting SameSame keep an update on their situation.

    In the meantime it’s been great to find someone willing to stand up against the frankly bizarre comments about our community. Notice how he’s now moved on, in a backward fashion, to criticising all of Australia, the Labor Party, State Governments, dance parties, migrants and women. His huge generalisations are mind numbing leaps of unhinged logic and are something to behold.

    Argy- I look forward to seeing more comments from you on this site, don’t be put off by the trolls and certainly don’t take their comments personally.

    Meanwhile if you’re in Melbourne and want to see a decent drag show go to the Greyhound in St Kilda on a Fri or Sat night, amazing venue with great productions worthy of any stage. And if you’re up for an adventure try the sex on premises venue Club80 in Collingwood, friendly guys, clean environment and three stories high. Just don’t tell the judgemental trolls on queerty. By the way both venues are gay owned and contribute quite a lot back to Melbourne’s LGBT community and it’s causes.

    Have a great Christmas and let’s hope the evil Mad Monk can be toppled in 2014, it’s too long to wait for 2016!

  • jimbryant


    Um, simply stating facts.


    Why on earth would anybody want to go to a men’s sex club in Melbourne?

  • Spike

    @jimbryant: More like Anita Bryan.

  • argleflarglebargle

    @jimbryant: The White Australia policy was officially finished in 1966, so that was closer to 50 years ago… roughly around the time that Black people in America were allowed to vote so let’s not throw stones when your country (I’m going to assume American) was just as deplorable.

    In fact aussie aboriginies were able to vote before African american’s in America so wonderful, you’re just as horrible.

    We’ll have marriage equality soon, I’m sure of it because hell, the ACT already had it they just had a major road block. And you realise most of the world doesn’t have it either. If you’re going to say that about Australia, what about the countries where gay men get killed… is it just cos those gays aren’t fighting hard enough?

    Also with the labor party problem, once again it was like the liberals right now, they went along with party policy and the leader wouldn’t allow a conscience vote, even though people in the Greens kept putting forward the issue and Kevin Rudd (The PM we had before Gillard) changed his mind aqnd his platform on the last election was that he’d have Gay marriage done within the first 100 days… so we’ve tried, it’s not easy and if it was then everywhere would have it.

    Again, these are known as facts… I know they’re scary, but try them sometime because facts are fun

  • CCTR

    @jimbryant: Why do you make light of so many important issues posted in articles on Queerty? Do you enjoy the attention you get from making ignorant and foolish comments and rousing emotions of others? Is this bit of attention you get from total strangers on a discussion forum that fulfilling to you? If you want a pen-pal, stop the fraud and just ask for one. Please find yourself a lover, a friend, a God, or a pet (they all can give you attention). Please Please stop the fraud!

  • alanj

    @argleflarglebargle: oh dear hasn’t anyone warned you about feeding the troll, facts aren’t part of this creatures diet, the likely result will be a rather unpleasant explosion of toxic bile.

    Mind you things could get interesting as past posts from it unleashed scaly penises, glistening intestines and a particularly violent death by crabs ( the pubic kind)!

  • jimbryant


    LOL. You obviously haven’t studied your history. Naughty, naughty boy.

    Before disseminating incorrect statements about when blacks got the vote in America, do a quick Google search, dearie. Black Americans got the right to vote in 1870, about a hundred years before
    black Australians got their right to vote. So there.

    I mean, the mere fact that black Australians only got the right to vote about 46 years ago tells you a lot about Australia, doesn’t it. It also tells you why Australia probably won’t get gay marriage for another 50 years or so, if that.

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  • hephaestion

    Australia will have gay marriage in a few years. Politics are deceptive and confusing, but with 50% of Australians favoring gay marriage, the stars will align properly before too long.

  • eyeroller

    For goodness sake! For starters quite a lot of the LGBT community vote for the Greens and even the sex party. However, I’m gay and support the ALP *gasp* Why? Because they largely support LGBT rights and have for some time. Under Prime Minister Gillard (whom I have a lot of personal respect for because she put actually implemented policies that will help the LGBT community, such as LGBT aged care and anti-discrimination policies, as well as improvements to education, environmental and industrial policy) the ALP constitution was changed in support of same-sex marriage in 2011, where it was also agreed that a conscience vote be allowed, making their position no different to the American Democrats, and in fact a majority of ALP Parliamentarians support, including the current leader and deputy leader of the federal party.

    Now, I would also like to point out that had the Liberal party been given the similar grace of a conscience vote on the issue it may have passed, and had the ALP won Government under any leader in the recent election, it would also likely have passed within this term. (I don’t give too much credit to Rudd since he voted against it a matter of months before his catharsis and when he was first Prime Minister blocked Civil Unions in the ACT, something Gillard never did).

    Finally, it makes little difference whether they were “married” or not. De facto marriages or common-law marriages have the same legal weight as “marriages”, unlike in a lot of other countries such as the US. You are automatically “de facto” married if you’ve been with them six years, and in most states there are ways to have your relationship recognised earlier through the state registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, including in Queensland despite the backwards bullshit going on there recently, which are respected and recognised by the Commonwealth. Only WA and the NT may not have the mechanisms for earlier recognition, but do recognise same-sex couples as part of “de facto marriages”. Hence, as stated earlier, the couple shouldn’t have a problem with their appeal and their visa problems have little to do with the court overruling the ACT (whose same-sex marriage Bill was put up by… the Labor Government headed by Katy Gallagher *another gasp*).

    Does anyone check their facts these days?

  • eyeroller

    The High Court ruling also basically said that states can no longer legislate on Marriage, so even if the state Labor governments had legislated SSM, it would have been knocked back. What the ever-bitter jimbryant ignores is that the state ALP leaders in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia all support same-sex marriage, as well as those I mentioned before, Bill Shorten, leader of the federal party, and his deputy Tanya Plibersek.

    As for the accusations of denying Aborigines the vote (non Aboriginal “blacks” were never officially denied the vote), in some states they never were. The Australian Constitution provides that if people are allowed to vote in state elections, they’re allowed to vote in federal ones, too, despite the federal Electoral Act. Hence, in some states they were never denied the vote. While some aspects of the pre-amended Constitution were disgusting, like denying that Aborigines were people, spreading bald faced nonsense doesn’t help either. Also, it was quashed in 1962 by the High Court, and then confirmed in a referendum in 1967 where it received over 90% support. I rather doubt that even today such a referendum would receive such support in America, let alone at that period of time.

  • jimbryant

    One kind of feels sorry for Australians, doesn’t one?

  • jimbryant


    The ALP does not support gay marriage.

  • eyeroller

    @jimbryant: SO presumably all the ALP members who voted for it in 2012, and said they will vote for it again, and the 2011 federal convention were all presumably part of a grand conspiracy held by the Catholic Church/Mormons/Aliens/the Chinese/Muslims/women to trick the gay community into a false sense of security. What fools we are.

  • jimbryant


    The ALP does not have a party position. Its position now is to have a conscience vote. A conscience vote is not a party position. If you don’t understand this, you need to get a clue.

  • eyeroller

    What exactly are you trying to argue, jimbryant?

    The Labor Party has it’s flaws, no doubt. As someone who actually cares about what the party does with it’s organisation and what it does when in government, I’m well aware of them and they are many. Splitting hairs over what does or does not constitute a “party position” (which it does on the issue, and it is in support. Whether it enforces party discipline on the issue, which neither the British Labour Party, New Zealand Labour Party, the Canadian New Democratic Party and most certainly not the Democrats do, despite it being the policy to support by all four) achieve what, exactly? The cold hard facts of the matter is that it is enshrined in the ALP constitution, and majority of both the state and federal ALP caucuses support marriage equality.

    As someone who has followed closely the progress of LGBT rights in this country, and who has actually studied how politics works here, I’ve “got a clue”. If you’re truly concerned about what the ALP does with respect to Marriage equality, you can always campaign to have them stop playing funny-buggers in the Senate with trying to keep the Greens out but letting more harmful parties in. I’ll take that you haven’t found fault in any of the facts I’ve used as validation of the fact that you don’t have the faintest idea what you’re on about. Anyway, I’m done wasting my time with you. I’ve got more interesting and fulfilling things to do with my life.

  • masteradrian

    And that then is a country that claims to be civilized!

    Well, lets be honest about, the ancestors of those now living there were criminals, one would start thinking that criminality is indeed in the genes……..

    (till the moment that the uncivilized criminal government of Australia ends the ban on equal marriage!)

Comments are closed.