Today the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in U.S. vs. Windsor that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional by depriving gay, lesbian, same-sex, and LGBT couples from marrying the person that they love. The decision was authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, which he principally noted that: “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity." This decision is a landmark decision which will now allow gay and lesbian couples to share federal benefits and protections (as well as state benefits and protections as provided under state law). What is also foreseeable is that this should also allow U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, temporary nonimmigrants, and other foreigners to seek federal immigration benefits for their gay and lesbian spouses. So, the question now is what benefits under U.S. Immigration Law could this potentially benefit same-sex, gay, lesbian and LGBT couples now that DOMA is overturned? Here’s a brief list of the possible changes:
The full reach of the DOMA decision will be flushed out in the coming days, weeks and months ahead. The above list is not exhaustive and will be updated in the future. I am sure that USCIS, CBP, ICE, and the Department of State should be issuing new policy guidance in the future. But today is a great day for America where full rights, liberties and benefits under the law are equal.
Immigration Green cards Adjustment of immigration status Immigrant visas Political asylum Immigration holds and deportation Immigration court Cancellation of removal in deportation Immigrant status Fraud State, local, and municipal law Form I-485 (adjustment of status) Family law Form I-130 (alien relative) Domestic relationships Marriage Civil union