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article imageDHS Opens Door to Same-Sex Immigrant Spouses

By RW Nye     Jul 20, 2013 in Lifestyle
Homeland Security Secretary directs USCIS to review visa petitions in same manner as those filed for opposite-sex spouses.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano recently announced that as a result of the Supreme Court's recent decision invalidating a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will now treat immigrant visa petitions for same-sex spouses "in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse."
Her announcement confirms that a U.S. citizen, and in some cases a lawful permanent resident, may now petition to obtain immigrant status for a same-sex spouse--a big win for the Gay Rights and Marriage Equality movements. The petition will be adjudicated on the same basis as other marriage-based immigration cases. As usual, the marriage must have been valid in the jurisdiction where it was contracted. With some exceptions, even couples now residing in the 37 states that do not permit same-sex marriages will be eligible.
It would be hard to overstate how revolutionary this development is, considering that until the early 1980's people identified as homosexuals were routinely excluded under Section 212 (d)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 as having a "psychopathic personality." Congress, not the medical profession, had so classified them. This interpretation was repeatedly upheld in decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals and the federal courts. In 1979 the U.S. Public Health Service began refusing to issue the Class A certifications that the Immigration and Naturalization Service generally used to document these actions, and INS began to modify its approach to the issue. But some immigrants were still subjected to adverse actions by reason of their homosexuality. Homosexuality was effectively eliminated as an exclusion ground by new legislation enacted in 1990.
More about Marriage equality, samesex, Immigration, visa petition, Spouse
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