This week saw two developments involving immigration which could potentially mark historical turning points. First, as a result of this week’s Supreme Court decision in the case of United States v. Windsor, overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal government will henceforth recognize same-sex marriages as valid for immigration purposes. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote on behalf of the majority:
“DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment… [it] forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of state law but unmarried for the purpose of federal law, thus diminishing the stability and predictability of basic personal relations the State has found it proper to acknowledge and protect.”
This will affect many thousands of married couples who until now were facing the prospect of separation and removal of their same-sex spouses. It signifies an important advancement in our country toward greater social justice, and it is the culmination of many years of hard fought advocacy by and on behalf of the LGBT community. It will be our privilege to assist those LGBT spouses who will now be able to apply for lawful permanent resident status in the U.S.