Gay marriage immigration moves forward

same sex imageWhen the Supreme Court overturned Section 3 in the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex couples became entitled to immigration rights.  The Defense of Marriage Act had previously stopped same-sex couples from having the same benefits from marriage under federal law as heterosexual couples but now marriage benefits apply whenever a citizen marries a non-citizen or legal permanent resident.

The reality is that now petitions for US visas for a spouse of the same sex will be given the same review as a petition for any other spouse, in order to be given US citizenship.  There are a number of other benefits that are now also available for gay and lesbian bi-national families including protecting victims of domestic violence from being deported, the sponsoring of stepchildren, enabling undocumented spouses to put in an application for a hardship waiver and follow-to-join benefits (where children of a non-citizen that have followed a parent into the United States do not have to wait any longer to get a visa).

Gay marriage immigration rights do not, however, stop the often invasive nature of naturalization.  Federal immigration officers still have to look into the validity of the relationship, which can cause complications in instances where same-sex couples have not come out to their families.

Fear of family repercussions can prevent same-sex couples from putting in an application.  Although the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act is a step in the right direction, the fact is that the world remains not fully the same for gay couples as for straight ones.