Apr 2, 2012

DOMA's Immigration Context Under Attack Again

Via Prop 8 Trial Tracker:

Immigration Equality has filed a new lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act as it applies to the immigration rights of gay and lesbian bi-national couples. The complaint, which can be found here, notes the reasons that the Defense of Marriage Act treats same sex couples dealing with immigration issues particularly harshly:

The discriminatory impact of DOMA is particularly acute in the immigration context. For immigration purposes, whether the federal government recognizes a couple’s marriage can determine whether a family may remain in the United States and live together, or may be torn apart.

The group’s press release says:

Five lesbian and gay couples filed suit today in the Eastern District of New York, challenging Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prevents lesbian and gay American citizens from sponsoring their spouses for green cards. The lawsuit, filed on the couples’ behalf by Immigration Equality and the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, alleges that DOMA violates the couples’ constitutional right to equal protection.

“Solely because of DOMA and its unconstitutional discrimination against same-sex couples,” the lawsuit states, “these Plaintiffs are being denied the immigration rights afforded to other similarly situated binational couples.” Were the Plaintiffs opposite-sex couples, the suit says, “the federal government would recognize the foreign spouse as an ‘immediate relative’ of a United States citizen, thereby allowing the American spouse to petition for an immigrant visa for the foreign spouse, and place [them] on the path to lawful permanent residence and citizenship.”

Make sure you read the full post. For me this is a particularly important issue, as the immigration side is the biggest reason of why DOMA is harmful to me specifically. I hope this case adds to the pressure this abomination is already under.

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