When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act this summer, it opened the door to legalizing gay and lesbian marriages. In turn, it has presented the opportunity for non-U.S. residents in gay and lesbian marriages to begin the process of obtaining residency because of their marriage to a U.S. spouse. Gay marriage is banned by law in Florida, but is legal in 13 other states, including Washington, D.C.
Prior to The Supreme Court’s decision, couples who had applied for residency were being denied, and cases closed on the applications of same-sex binational marriages. Now the immigration process is open to same-sex couples the same way it is open to heterosexual couples. Immigration can be a slow process for all participants and patience may be a key word for all persons applying for a U.S. residency. Many support groups are available to educate same-sex binational families about the U.S. immigration requirements.
Gay and lesbian leaders are calling for same-sex couples to begin the immigration process by getting married, filing the residency applications and fulfilling all the requirements of the immigration laws. They are also reminding others that many non-gay immigrants face similar immigration issues, and working together may be the answer to benefiting all.
When an individual begins the immigration process, it is important that he or she be provided with the best support available. An attorney who has experience in the area of immigration law may be able to answer the questions the individual has, assist with the completion of the necessary paperwork and inform the individual on the requirements of obtaining U.S. residency.
Source: Huffington Post, “Post-DOMA Decision Thoughts for Our Green Card-seeking Community“, Judy Rickard, August 27, 2013