MARRIAGES OF SAME-SEX COUPLES NOW RECOGNIZED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
Gay American Citizens Can Now Sponsor Foreign-Born Spouses for Green Cards, Ending Immigration Nightmare
THE DOMA PROJECT Press Release – JUNE 27, 2013In a groundbreaking and historic ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States has placed itself on the right side of history and found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be an unconstitutional exercise of federal authority and a violation of the equal protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution in a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Kennedy. ?Originally signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, DOMA has denied lawfully married gay and lesbian couples from the benefits and protections of more than 1,100 federal provisions. ?These wide-ranging benefits include all of immigration law and the right of an American citizen to sponsor his or her spouse for a green card and to file a fianc?(e) visa petition to bring his or her partner to the United States.
Writing for the Court, Justice Kennedy stated?unequivocally that,
?The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. ?By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.?
The DOMA Project has filed over 70 green card and fianc?(e) visa petitions for same-sex couples since its inception in 2010. ?The sole basis for denial by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was Section 3 of DOMA. ?After today?s ruling, that obstacle has, at long last, been removed.
Lavi Soloway, gay rights attorney and co-founder of the DOMA Project, offers his view on the ruling:
?Today?s historic ruling puts millions of lesbian and gay Americans and their families on equal footing under federal law. ?By ending the discrimination against married same-sex couples, the Supreme Court has extended the promise of equality granted by the U.S. Constitution to all Americans regardless of sexual orientation. ?Beginning today, lesbian and gay Americans will be able to file green card petitions for their foreign-born spouses and fianc?(e) visa petitions to bring their partners to the United States. The federal government will no longer stand in the way of lesbian and gay binational couples who seek nothing more than to build a life together in the United States. ?The Supreme Court?s ruling is the culmination of years of the tireless efforts of courageous and determined couples who stood up for the right to be together, and fought back against a government that sought to tear apart their families. ?We expect the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to begin approving green card petitions for married lesbian and gay couples immediately.?
The defeat of DOMA effectively means the end to deportation of spouses of gay and lesbian Americans who will now be eligible for green cards. It will reunite same-sex couples who have been torn apart and forced to live in separate countries, including many cases in which parents have been separated from their minor children, and it will end the exile of gay and lesbian Americans who have been forced to live abroad in order to be with the person they love. ?With Section 3 of DOMA gone, our family-based immigration laws will now treat all families equally, regardless of sexual orientation.
THE DOMA PROJECT is a campaign launched in October 2010 by a group of married binational couples working with attorneys Lavi Soloway and Noemi Masliah, who are founders of Immigration Equality and partners in the law firm, Masliah & Soloway. The campaign?s purpose is to raise awareness of the cruel impact of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on married gay and lesbian bi-national couples and to bring an end to that discrimination. Because the federal government denies recognition to legally married same-sex couples, such couples are deprived of the usual access to immigration laws that allow all other American citizens to petition for a green card for their foreign spouses. In most cases, DOMA is the only obstacle preventing married binational couples from achieving resolution of the immigration issue. http://www.domaproject.org