Ms. Pancochova, a three-time Olympic snowboarder from the Czech Republic, was in the United States coaching and Ms. Barley, an American, had flown in from Portland, Ore., to go to her. With the United States and Czech borders mutually closed to one another, the ladies briefly thought-about strolling down the aisle.
“For Sarka to get her green card and not worry about if she’s going to be able to come into the States or not because of Covid — it was definitely on the mind,” mentioned Ms. Barley of the potential advantages of getting married.
Yet Ms. Pancochova has publicly pledged to abstain from marrying — in any nation — till the Czech Republic legalizes homosexual marriage. A wedding-equality invoice has been languishing in Parliament since June 2018.
“Covid has tested our commitment to that vow,” mentioned Ms. Barley, who works in advertising and is the mom of an Eight-year-old daughter, Khayla. In June, when Ms. Pancochova left the United States due to an expiring visa, the couple was uncertain of once they would subsequent see one another. However, the Czech border reopened to the single companions of residents in July and in September, Ms. Barley flew to Prague for 20 days.
The couple was once more reunited in late December, when — after one failed try to get again into the United States — Ms. Pancochova, knowledgeable athlete who trains and competes in the United States, was in a position to procure a B1 enterprise visa.
She plans to return to the Czech Republic for the Snowboard World Cup in March. With no United States competitions on the horizon for the spring and summer time low season, the two ladies aren’t positive what’s subsequent. But, for now, the pair stays dedicated to not marrying.
“There are moments when you’re really over it, but there’s no quitting,” Ms. Pancochova mentioned. “You love the person and you want to be with them, so you push through.”