Two days after the Supreme Court stuck down DOMA, a Bulgarian immigrant married to an American man learned that he was approved for a permanent resident visa, a service he was barred from just 48 hours prior based on his sexual preference. DOMA banned the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples for all sorts of grossly unfair purposes, including immigration benefits — but now, Immigration and Citizenship Services is working speedily to ensure same-sex couples can get green cards, too.
Julian Marsh and Traian Popov of Fort Lauderdale, Florida are the first-ever same sex couple to have their marriage recognized by the USCIS. Here's Julian over at The DOMA Project:
“We have love, joy and happiness in our lives. Thanks to the Supreme Court and President Obama we have an approved green card petition and we get to stay in our home and our country. If DOMA had not been struck down we were faced with no alternative but to leave our home and the country that we love so much. We feel extremely grateful and fortunate to have been given the greatest gift possible as we celebrate gay pride around the country. Today we rejoice. Next week we get back to work to defeat all the barriers to full equality,” said Julian from his home in Florida.
Speaking of Florida: Marsh and Popov (who were legally married in New York) won't find much love coming from their state reps, post-DOMA or not. Marriage isn't recognized in Florida and probably won't be anytime soon; last month, rising star/known water bottle luvver Florida Senator Marco Rubio said he would walk away from any bill that includes LGBT rights.
But The DOMA project has filed nearly 100 green card petitions for same-sex couples affected by DOMA, and USCIS has announced that will soon issue guidance for all DOMA-impacted immigration cases — it kept all the applications for the last two years on file in anticipation of this court ruling and so immediately reserved all decisions automatically. What's that about government bureaucracy?