Ms. Pancochova, a three-time Olympic snowboarder from the Czech Republic, was in the US coaching and Ms. Barley, an American, had flown in from Portland, Ore., to go to her. With the US and Czech borders mutually closed to one another, the ladies briefly thought-about strolling down the aisle.
“For Sarka to get her inexperienced card and never fear about if she’s going to have the ability to come into the States or not due to Covid — it was positively on the thoughts,” mentioned Ms. Barley of the potential advantages of getting married.
But 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 examined our dedication 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 US due to an expiring visa, the couple was not sure of after they would subsequent see one another. Nonetheless, 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 and get again into the US — Ms. Pancochova, an expert athlete who trains and competes in the US, was capable of 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 season low season, the 2 ladies aren’t certain what’s subsequent. However, for now, the pair stays dedicated to not marrying.
“There are moments if you’re actually over it, however there’s no quitting,” Ms. Pancochova mentioned. “You like the individual and also you need to be with them, so that you push by way of.”