The United States made a historic decision last week, in United States v. Windsor, declaring the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. As a result, LGBT couples in the U.S. will now enjoy equality in all realms of federal law, including estate taxes, income taxes, health care issues and immigration. All over the country, LGBT immigrant families have rejoiced in the news, and have acted quickly to apply for benefits for their spouses.
At MSNBC.com, Rachel Tiven, Executive Director of Immigration Equality, lauds the decision as one that she and immigration advocates have been working toward for a long time. She also shares many stories of the countless immigrant families working with her organization and their ecstatic reactions to the welcome news. Immigration Equality was flooded with over 1,500 calls in the week following the decision, she said, from LGBT immigrant families asking for advice on the application process. "I am finally able to deliver the news I have waited years to say, 'Yes, you can get a green card," she writes.
The changes are happening quickly. One gay couple in Florida received news just two days after the Windsor decision that their application had been approved. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, has stated, "Effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse."
Tiven sums it up well, writing, "Other than Edie Windsor, no one has awaited this decision more than LGBT immigrant families."
For more information of marriage and family-based immigration visas, please contact the Law Offices of Matthew H. Green. We have offices in Tucson and Phoenix for your convenience.