PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. — With the beaming smiles of newlyweds, Paul Forziano and Hava Samuels hold hands, exchange adoring glances and complete each other’s sentences. Their first wedding dance, he recalls, was to the song “Unchained …” “Melody,” she chimes in.
They spend their days together in the performing arts education center where they met. But every night, they must part ways. Forziano goes to his group home. His wife goes to hers.
The mentally disabled couple is not allowed to share a bedroom by the state-sanctioned nonprofits that run the group homes – a practice the newlyweds and their parents are now challenging in a federal civil rights lawsuit.
“We’re very sad when we leave each other,” Forziano says. “I want to live with my wife, because I love her.”