Wilfred Knight: Did DOMA Kill Him?
By Out.com Editors
Wilfred Knight was an acupuncturist, and he was an adult film star. He killed himself March 5, allegedly two weeks after his husband also took his own life, according to Raw Story.
Knight, a French citizen, married his American husband Jerry Enriquez in Canada in 2011, and both men lived in Vancouver, Canada at the time of their deaths. Bi-national couples always have a difficult time of it, but same-sex ones are expressly forbidden from sponsoring a spouse for U.S. citizenship due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which makes it impossible for Enriquez to sponsor Knight for spousal-based citizenship.
From the information that is surfacing, it appears Enriquez found work at a Lululemon in Vancouver last year, and the couple moved to Canada, where Knight had full, legal access to his husband's benefits. But after Enriquez was terminated from employment by Lululemon, and couldn't find a job after five months, he took his own life.
Knight wrote a blog post dated March 2, in which he places the blame for his husband's death on the shoulders of the U.S. immigration system. Titled, "My partner's life and death and its lesson: U.S. Gay Marriage Must Pass on a Federal Level," Knight apparently wrote:
"By the end of my studies, my visa was going to expire, and i would be sent back to Europe. No other way around it. Again, it does not matter whether gay marriage exists in California or Washington, if one is not American, it will not apply. Therefore if you are in love but not straight, you are fucked!"
In a blog post dated March 3, Knight then attacked Lululemon to task:
"Gay marriage should exist on a national/federal level, so that multinational gay couple[s] can simply live together as multinational straight couples do. Laws should change for any international gay couple: my partner net clear signs he wanted me to die with him, to follow him, therefore had no will after our 9-year relationship. My marriage is valid in Canada, NOT in the USA. Therefore his family gets it all, when I get nothing."
Two days after he allegedly wrote that post, Knight killed himself, a personal friend confirmed to Queerty. Of course, we should remember that suicide can have little logical explanation, despite trying to place blame or finding reasons. Most likely there were deeper reasons why both men decided to end their life. Michael Mew, who Queerty identifies as "a close personal friend" of Knight's, said his friend was anything but a porn-star cliché, calling him "a funny man with a kitschy sense of humor," but that doesn't mean that there were other details in either man's background or current situation that didn't lead to the decision to commit suicide. But that doesn't mean that it will keep people from blaming DOMA, U.S. immigration policies, or the health care system for complicating matters.
"Up to the end, [Knight] expressed how he wished that no couple would have to endure what he and Jerry had to in trying to stay together," writes Mew. "They would both be alive today if America had gay marriage."
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, isolation, or thoughts of suicide, visit The Trevor Project’s website or call the confidential, 24-hour hotline at 1-866-488-7386. In the U.S., you can also call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or visit stopbullying.gov.