Homeland Security Confirms Same-Sex Binational Couples Can Get Green Cards

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com July 01 2013 7:34 PM ET

Confirming what LGBT immigration groups have been saying since Wednesday's historic Supreme Court ruling striking down a section of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act that prohibited the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages, the department of Homeland Security today issued a statement affirming that married gay and lesbian couples will be treated like married straight couples for immigration purposes. 

"After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly," said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in a prepared statement today. "To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse."

Over the weekend, a gay couple in Florida became the first to receive approval for green card based on their legal marriage. Just two days after the Supreme Court ruled, Julian Marsh and Traian Popov of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., were pleasantly surprised by notification from Citizenship and Immigration Services officials that Popov's petition for permanent residency based on his bona fide marriage had been approved, reports The DOMA Project, which fights for immigration equality for LGBT binational couples. 

The Department of Homeland Security also composed a list of frequently asked questions relating to how DOMA's death affects U.S. immigration law for Americans with foreign-born spouses of the same sex.