On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic decision impacting the rights and lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or transgender individuals and families across the country. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law enacted in 1996 that restricted thousands of federal benefits - including immigration related rights – to heterosexual married couples only, has been declared unconstitutional and is no longer in effect!
This means that our families can now access a full range of benefits under immigration law from fiance petitions to spousal green card applications to benefits under the Violence Against Women Act. After years of limbo, bi-national LGBQ/T couples who are legally married or engaged to be legally married finally have the equal rights and benefits under U.S. immigration law. As a queer person and an immigration attorney who has heard far too many stories from couples struggling with uncertainty and imminent separation because of DOMA, I am deeply heartened by this tremendous victory.
If you are interested in learning more about your immigration rights and options or are ready to begin the process of applying for benefits, please contact me for a free consultation at 617-435-8005.