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Tuesday 11 April 2017

DOMA's death: what does it mean for bi-national couples?

Posted in: Features
By Jacqui Stanford - 27th June 2013

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The dumping of the Defense of Marriage Act has massive ramifications for the estimated 28,500 bi-national gay couples who have been excluded from immigration benefits in the US.

The Act disallowed the federal government from recognising same-sex marriages between American citizens and foreigners.

Now it has been struck down, as the Huffington Post explains: “Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling doesn't entirely fix the problem -- couples must be married rather than partners, and must travel to a state that allows same-sex marriage if they don't live in one -- but it's still a major victory for LGBT rights.”

Basically the repeal of DOMA will permit legally married LGBT United States citizens and ‘Lawful Permanent Residents’ to sponsor their foreign-born spouses for green cards.

The ruling has reportedly already helped one binational same-sex couple: an immigration judge has just halted the deportation of a man married to a US citizen on Wednesday.

In the face of DOMA, many couples have chosen to move to countries where their relationship is recognised, such as New Zealand.

“Any American would agree that being forced to choose between your homeland and your loved one is a heartbreaking choice,” American Immigration Lawyers Association President Laura Lichter said in a statement.

The advocacy group Immigration Equality will push the Obama administration to quickly implement the ruling so same-sex couples can receive green cards.

Jacqui Stanford - 27th June 2013

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