Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gaytterdämmerung: Victory For Same-Sex Binational Couples!

The amazing good news for LGBT people during 2013's pride season continues. Wednesday the Supreme Court issued two pro-gay decisions in Windsor and Hollingsworth. Thursday was the 44th anniversary of the Stonewall riots (and yours truly gave a well-received speech at work on the occasion). Friday, marriage equality was restored in California. And today comes word that the federal government has approved a permanent residence application (i.e. for a green card) from a U.S. citizen (resident in a state which does not allow or recognize same-sex marriage) based on a legal same-sex marriage.

This means that the nightmare situation faced by same-sex binational couples who could not find a way to stay together due to homophobic immigration laws is now consigned to the dustbin of history. As a board member of the national organization devoted to assisting same-sex binational couples and having been in a binational relationship myself this is incredibly satisfying news!

Lavi Soloway of the DOMA Project confirmed the news to Buzzfeed:
The DOMA Project, whose lawyers represent the couple, announced the news Saturday morning, calling it “the first time in U.S. history a marriage-based green card petition filed by a gay couple has been approved.”
“As a gay immigrant and as an immigration attorney and gay rights activist who has worked on this issue for 20 years, this is a moment of particular personal satisfaction, Lavi Soloway, the couple’s lawyer and a founder of The DOMA Project, told BuzzFeed on Saturday.
“The approval of this petition demonstrates that the Obama administration’s commitment to recognizing same-sex couples’ marriages after the Supreme Court ruling is now a reality on the ground. We expect additional approvals of green card applications and petitions in the coming days,” Soloway said.
“It is symbolically very important that this first petition that was approved comes for a couple that lives in Florida, a state that has a constitutional ban preventing same-sex couples from marrying. This shows the effect of the DOMA ruling for immigration purposes will extend to couples, no matter where they live, so long as they have a valid marriage license,” Soloway said.
Amazing news! Immigration laws are incredibly complicated, but Immigration Equality has a very useful list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that binational couples should review before taking any drastic steps.

Happy Pride!

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