Prior to the Supreme Court’s reversal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), none of the 36,000 same-sex marriage couples where one spouse was a citizen and the other was not would be allowed to obtain immigration benefits. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down DOMA, a gay couple in Florida was the first to have their application and immigration benefits approved.
Traian Popov and his husband Julian Marsh were notified by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services on June 28th that their green card petition had been approved. The government began accepting and reviewing applications for green cards and immigration benefits for same-sex couples on July 1st. The DOMA Project has already filed 100 applications since 2010 and plans to increase this number in the near future. Now all of those cases can go forward in the way they should with the government respecting the fact that there is a legally recognizable marriage there,” Laura Lichter, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told the AP.
Popov and Marsh were stuck with a dilemma that thousands of other same sex couples face. If DOMA was not overturned, they would have been forced to move to a different country. The couple began dating in 2011 and Popov was only allowed to stay in the U.S. as long as he is enrolled in school. However when he graduated, he would have had to leave. Marsh commented with relief that “Thanks to the Supreme Court we can stay in our home now. We can be in the country that we love.”
Our office should be filing its first same sex marriage based green card application this week. We believe it may be the first same sex petition filed in Missouri or at least the St. Louis area.
If you have questions regarding the new immigration reform, applying for a visa or the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.