One in Miami may wonder in what circumstances the issues of same-sex marriage and immigration would combine, but that’s been one of the surprising consequences of the Supreme’s Court’s decision to rule against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) earlier this year. Prior to the ruling, the DOMA didn’t allow the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in determining the immigration status for a foreign-born spouse. Yet since the Supreme Court’s decision, the trend amongst federal agencies has been to now extend benefits to same sex-couples.
A recent case involving a same-sex couple in Ohio shows that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department has been no exception to this trend. A Vietnamese-born man earned what could be viewed as a landmark recommendation for approval for a marriage-sponsored green card that will allow him to remain in the U.S. with his spouse. The unique aspect of this decision is that Ohio does not recognize same-sex marriages (the pair was actually married in New York). Yet even though the couple isn’t recognized as married in Ohio, they are by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department. In fact, according to a department representative, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices treat all applications for these visas the same, regardless of sexual orientation.
Family immigration issues can be highly complex. One might think that adding in the element of same-sex marriage might further serve to complicate the process. Yet as this case shows, LGBT issues may be one of the areas where current U.S. immigration policy is considered in lockstep with the current social climate. Anyone with questions regarding family immigration issues such as this may find that an immigration attorney could be a good source for answers.
Source: Columbus Dispatch “Green card nearer for man in gay marriage” Rita Price, Oct. 18, 2013