Prior to yesterday, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevented the immigration service (USCIS) from recognizing same-sex marriages for the purposes of immigration.
However, the Supreme Court has struck down DOMA. The decision is momentous and will impact many.
And it already has.
Minutes after the judgement was released, a New York City immigration judged halted the deportation of a Columbia gay man who is legally married to his US partner, but whose green card application had been turned down. And it couldn't have been a better way for Melanie Servetas to celebrate her wedding, which was taking place at the very time the judgement was released. Melanie had been forced to leave her home state of California and turn her back on her successful career for love, but the new decision means she should now be able to sponsor her partner US Visa.
So practically what does the decision actually mean? Well no guarantees can be given at this stage, we still to see how USCIS will interpret the Court's decisions. It is thought however that same sex marriages will be approved with immediate effect. Of course any future immigration decisions are also influenced by other decisions and and in particular on the foreign national spouse’s immigration status and plans.
In the meantime, the celebrations around the US continue!
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Flickr photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker