Gay Marriage

DOMA Decision Means One Less Immigration Fight

Binational gay couples is some states will get to follow same rules as straight counterparts


Now it's just nearly impossible, instead of completely impossible.
Credit: ep_jhu / / CC BY

The Gang of 8 behind the massive immigration reform overhaul, as extremely embattled (possibly doomed) as it is, has one less fight on its hands with today's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.  Democrats had been pushing for protections for bi-national gay couples to cover them under the same immigration rules as heterosexual couples. There has been resistance for fear it would poison the bill for good among conservatives. Now with the Supreme Court ruling striking DOMA down, the pressure's off. Via NBC News:

Before today's decision, an American was prohibited under DOMA from sponsoring a same-sex foreign national spouse for a green card. Practically, that meant that an American who married someone of the same sex from a different country was unable to bring their spouse to live legally in the United States as a heterosexual married person could.

But the court's decision to strike down DOMA means those marriages must be recognized for immigration purposes, a relief for some backers of the comprehensive immigration reform bill — which does not include language addressing immigration rights for same-sex couples despite heavy lobbying from LGBT groups.

Note, though, this ruling only applies to states where gay marriage is legally recognized. That's 13 states, plus possibly California very soon following the Supreme Court's rejection of standing for Proposition 8.  

Below, Reason TV on how the Defense of Marriage Act has affected gay bi-national couples:

NEXT: Sixty Percent of Mexican Workers Labor Off the Books

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  1. Greenwald will be pleased.

    1. Er, recent events might make Greenwald think twice of coming back to America.

      1. I had this exact same set of thoughts.

  2. Woohoo. We can now all get E-verify and have to get a work permit from the government to get a job. And the Reasonites rejoiced!!

    1. I’m confused as to which Reasonites want e-verify.

  3. So, even less reason to support the bill.

  4. So what do these rulings imply vis a vis a legally married same sex couple moving to a state which does not recognize such marriages?

    1. It’ll probably depend on if the state just passively doesn’t accept it or has actively banned it. It’ll probably be the equivalent of first-cousin marriage for a while.

  5. Why do I get the feeling that Reason magazine supports “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” in the same way that the Democrats supported “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” , they don’t really know what’s in it(its still in revision stage), and probably would not like it if they did but they like the sound of the title.

      1. But if the bill comes up to a vote in both the House and Senate I am still betting Reason will support it, no matter how many provisions they profess to dislike. How is this different then the supporters of Obamacare. They did not like the bill but they like the idea.

        Personally I am more a devil in the details kind of guy, titles and big ideas are often meaningless in the face of the reality of the details

        1. I’m personally of the opinion that the assumption should be that those particular 8 Senators are not capable of coming up with a quality bill and anything they produce is awful until proven otherwise.

  6. I see one *more* immigration fight – the American spouses of foreign husbands and brides will wonder why, even though their marriages are recognized under state law, the feds are unwilling to give visas to the foreign brides to live in the USA? Doesn’t that mean that the federal government is discriminating among state-recognized marriages?

    Oh, well, shut up and wave your rainbow flags.

  7. In my personal experience, people seem more amenable to real reform of the system rather than higher walls, amnesties and the sloppy reforms that are on proposal now. People seem to like the idea of a relatively open work visa program if you explain that it could solve problems with identity theft and that it would lessen the demand for coyotes making “border security” easier and cheaper to accomplish. Will congress do something worthwhile here? Not likely. Could they get popular support for something useful if they tried? I think they could.

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