Proteus Bicycle Shop owner Jill DeMauro loves her shop and the community of College Park, but when federal laws forced her partner to move back to Canada, she decided to give it all up to be with her.
DiMauro, who has owned College Park’s Proteus Bicycle Shop since 2002, sold the shop in May so she could be with her partner of seven years, the Gazette reports.
Her partner is not a U.S. citizen, and because federal law does not recognize same-sex marriage, she was forced to move back to Canada for at least the next year, when she will be eligible to apply for another work visa. DiMauro will move to upstate New York to be closer to her, according to DCist.
The two were legally married in 2007 in Canada, a country that recognizes full marriage equality as the law.
While Maryland recently became the seventh state to legalize gay marriage, the federal government, including immigration law, does not acknowledge the marriage.
DiMauro told the Gazette that Proteus is more than just a bike shop. It’s a community, and she said she didn’t want people to think she would leave it by choice.
However, she is hopeful that the shop’s new owners, Laurie Lemieux, a registered nurse and loyal customer, and Ben Bassett, an employee for more than five years, will continue to run the store in a way that engages the community, DCist reports.
“Jill has built a really ethical model for doing business, and we’re going to keep it going the way it has been,” Lemieux told the Gazette.