Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Relationships & the Law Today: Immigration rights in era of marriage equality
A recurring column by Angelo D. DiBartolomeo
2015-07-22

This article shared 3339 times since Wed Jul 22, 2015
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Prior to July 1, 2013, same-sex couples who had entered into valid marriages in states recognizing same-sex marriage could not benefit from the same rights and protections afforded to married heterosexual couples under federal law.

The Defense of Marriage Act ( "DOMA" ), enacted in 1996, defined for federal purposes a "marriage" as solely a legal union between a man and a woman. DOMA ensured that the federal government, including administrative agencies, could not recognize a same-sex marriage that was legally entered into in a place that recognized same-sex marriages. Specifically, this had drastic consequences for noncitizens in same-sex relationships with U.S. citizens because even if these couples entered into a valid same-sex marriage in a location that recognized their union, foreign nationals were still denied access to benefits under U.S. immigration law, including most notably, the right to obtain a family-based immigrant visa.

More than one-third of foreign nationals who gain residency status in the United States do so by marrying a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. A marriage will generally be recognized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ( "USCIS" ) so long as that marriage is valid in the location where the marriage was performed. There are however exceptions to this general rule, and most notably for this discussion is the exception that the federal government will not recognize a marriage, regardless of its validity elsewhere, that is contrary to federal law. As such, as long as DOMA remained in effect, USCIS could not recognize a same-sex marriage when granting immigration benefits even if the same-sex couple was married in a state that specifically recognized same-sex marriages.

Today, however, thanks to both the decision in U.S. v. Windsor and the more recent Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex couples that marry anywhere within the United States may now enjoy the same immigration benefits that are afforded to heterosexual couples. In U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court ruled that DOMA's provision defining marriage as only a legal union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. Accordingly, this meant that the U.S. federal government could no longer refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that were entered into in states that allowed them. This decision created a pathway for married same-sex couples to receive hundreds of federal benefits that they had been previously denied solely based on the same-sex nature of their marriage. This includes the ability to obtain a family-based immigrant visa ( a "green card" ) and non-immigrant dependent visas for same-sex spouses working in the U.S. temporarily, so long as the marriage was legal where performed.

One week after the decision in U.S. v. Windsor was rendered, on July 1, 2013, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano directed USCIS to immediately review immigrant visa petitions that were filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse. Therefore, as of July 1, 2013, foreign nationals seeking immigration benefits based upon a valid same-sex marriage to a U.S. citizen could no longer have their petitions denied outright based solely on the same-sex nature of their marriage.

In addition to USCIS beginning to review same-sex marriage petitions in the same manner as they review heterosexual marriage ones, USCIS also reopened previously filed petitions that had been denied. USCIS has reconsidered petitions that were denied solely as a result of the applicant's same-sex marriage, and all reopened petitions would be considered anew without any regard given to DOMA and its provisions.

The Supreme Court has also recently ruled in another landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that it is unconstitutional for any state to ban same-sex marriage, thus, ensuring that same-sex couples can now get married in all 50 states. Although USCIS has not provide guidelines as the date of this publication, USCIS should now recognize the validity of any same-sex marriage that is performed anywhere within the United States.

Thanks to the recent decisions from the Supreme Court, same-sex couples are now able to enjoy the many benefits—both state and federal—that come with being legally married in the United States. A foreign national being able to obtain a marital visa is just one of the many hundreds of benefits now available to same-sex couples. If you are interested in learning more about the various state and federal benefits, including immigration benefits, now available to same-sex couples who are legally married, please feel free to contact any one of Clark Hill's attorneys.

Angelo D. DiBartolomeo is an Associate with the Litigation Practice Group in Clark Hill's Chicago office. His focus is on various areas of litigation, including commercial litigation, business litigation, and employment litigation. Contact him at 312-985-5549 or adibartolomeo@clarkhill.com .


This article shared 3339 times since Wed Jul 22, 2015
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

OP-ED: New Year's Eve circuit parties go on despite COVID-19 travel concerns 2021-01-08
- This past New Year's Eve, thousands of gay men flocked to Mexico to attend a New Year's eve "White Party" hosted by long time party promoter Jeffrey Sanker—the host of the annual white party in Palm ...


Gay News

OPINION Where do we go from here (redux)? 2020-12-28
- The year 2020 has been a stressful one. With George Floyd's death as an inflection point about race and racism in America, an unprecedented presidential election and social unrest during an ongoing pandemic with a rising ...


Gay News

VIEWS Taking care of your mental health during a COVID holiday season 2020-11-26
By Adam Ouanes - This holiday season is unlike any before, and it leaves many people feeling unsure about how to get into the holiday spirit. It's not unusual for many people to find this time of year overwhelming, but ...


Gay News

The Amazon Trail: Rats fleeing a sinking ship 2020-11-14
- I've heard the idiom "like rats fleeing a sinking ship" often lately, and while the metaphor is apt for what's going on in the United States, at our house it's even more befitting. Merriam Webster notes, ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Harris stands on shoulders of giants 2020-11-09
- The struggle to get President-elect Joe Biden to the finish line first with 270 electoral college votes was unquestionably an epic battle. However, Biden's battle wasn't a century-long one like women finally winning the right to ...


Gay News

Lilly Wachowski: Refuse Fascism, at the Ballot Box and in the Street 2020-11-02
Video below - In a rare, public and political statement, filmmaker Lilly Wachowski (co-creator of The Matrix trilogy, V for Vendetta, Sense8) published this personal essay on the literary website, LitHub.com, calling on people to "Refuse Fascism, at the ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Is Pope Francis' support of civil unions just lip service? 2020-10-29
- Pope Francis has expressed support for civil unions in the Catholic Church. Once again, the pontiff has sent shockwaves across the globe to 1.3 billion of his followers with another LGBTQ- affirming statement. However, this one ...


Gay News

LETTER Thank you, Pope Francis 2020-10-22
- I never thought I would live to see the day when a pope would endorse civil rights for LGBTQ couples. Praise God for His Grace. Also, the many Roman Catholic individuals and organizations who worked so ...


Gay News

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Nomination of Amy Coney Barrett 2020-10-22
- Women-Church Convergence, a coalition of Catholic-rooted organizations including DignityUSA, deplores the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. We have serious concerns about the judgment of any nominee ...


Gay News

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Lambda Legal responds to nomination of Judge Barrett 2020-10-13
--From a press release - Lambda Legal sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging its members to oppose Judge Amy Coney Barrett. The rushed confirmation hearings began today for President Trump's nominee to fill the seat of the late ...


Gay News

LETTER Vote 2020-10-03
- President Trump, you have had almost four years to lead the United States and have failed us by your own choosing. Whether it be in foreign policy and domestic policy you have not protected the United States ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT As a gay bipolar man, I've learned to live with suicidal thoughts 2020-10-01
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 20. LGBTQ+ youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth. In addition, LGBTQ+ youth are almost five ...


Gay News

LGBTQ HISTORY MONTH My Notorious RBG moment 2020-10-01
- In the 1990s, the U.S. Senate was attempting in every possible way to censor this new thing called the internet. The senators soon came up with an idea to stop information that might be objectionable to ...


Gay News

OP-ED: Ruth Bader Ginsburg bent the moral arc toward justice 2020-09-21
- Like so many Americans across the country, I, too, am mourning the news that U.S. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was 87. As a soft-spoken firebrand ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN True stories, trans tales and more in new picture books 2020-09-16
- New books can be a delightful relief in these days of quarantine. Here are some of the many new LGBTQ-inclusive picture books that just came out last month. (See Mombian.com for even more.) The Fighting Infantryman, ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.