DOMA Decision Creates Opportunity for LGBT Community

A late June Supreme Court decision struck down a particular portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The effect of this decision is that the United States federal government must now recognize legal marriages. This has a particular effect toward immigration policy in the
United States.

Previously, binational same-sex couples could not apply for their foreign resident spouse to get Permanent Residency because their marriages were not recognized.

The visa application process would generally be outright rejected once the immigration officer saw that the marriage was between two people of the same sex.

Since that part of the DOMA legislation has been overturned many same sex couples who had previously applied for immigrant status are having their cases re-opened. The USCIS is calling them back for immigration interviews now and Green Cards have begun to be issued.

This new consideration extends to other types of immigration applications as well:

  • Immigrants applying for the Green Card Lottery can also include their spouse on theirapplication
  • Immigrants coming to the U.S. on a work-based visa can also put their same-sex spouse on their application.
  • Binational fiancees can use the K-visa category to meet in the United States, get married and apply for permanent residency

The marriages, of course, must be legal in the jurisdiction in which they occurred to be recognized by U.S. immigration authorities.

There are many different countries in the world that allow same-sex marriages that will now be recognized.

There are a number of states in the U.S. that allow same-sex marriages and these partnerships will also be recognized by the USCIS for immigration purposes.

Many couples who have struggled with being apart from each other will now be able to live in the United States together and the LGBT community is rejoicing in this new-found


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