The Obama administration has announced that it is opening a system-wide review of circumstances surrounding same-sex couples where the partners of American citizens were refused green cards. USA Today claims that the Department of Homeland Security is saying that same-sex couples will be able to acquire a green card for foreign spouses in exactly the same manner as heterosexual couples.
The Department of Homeland Security will be conducting a review of all green card applications that were filed and then denied after February 23rd 2011 by same-sex couples, according to a source. February 23rd was the date on which President Obama made the announcement that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) would not be defended by his administration in court, and the Department of Homeland Security has attempted to keep a record of all green card denials based on the Act.
Couples will also be able to make a request that the department reviews their denied case even in the event that the decision was made prior to that date, according to USA Today. Up to 36,000 gay and lesbian couples could receive a green card after the striking down of the DOMA by the Supreme Court.
While the marriage has to be legally recognized, couples do not, however, have to live in states that do so in order to be able to get a green card. Same-sex couples can now also cut down on the residence period necessary for naturalization under the new guidelines, as is also the case with heterosexual couples.