Jourdan and Kirk are an extraordinary couple taking extraordinary measures to stay together. They are among the first wave of gay and lesbian couples who are applying for green cards after the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
Jourdan is a native of Singapore where Kirk met him thirteen years ago. They traveled to Des Moines in June 2010 for a stateside wedding since Iowa legalized gay marriage in 2009. “It’s not exceptional other than, it’s two guys,” says Kirk. Now they are finally able to take the next step since the federal government recognizes marriages like Kirk and Jourdan’s. Since Jourdan is considered a legal spouse of an American citizen, he can now apply for a marriage-based green card. This makes them the one of the first St. Louis couples to do so. Our firm is representing the pair.
Jourdan and Kirk lived together in Singapore before Kirk decided he needed to move closer to his aging mother. However, under DOMA, their marriage would not be recognized and Jourdan would come and go on work visas. In June 2012, they moved to St. Louis, and six months later, Jourdan had to return to Singapore alone. “When this happened, that I have to be away from him for six months, it was so painful,” recalls Jourdan. “Of course at night, you cry, thinking about that. You feel lost.” While there was nothing they could do at the time, Kirk and Jourdan waited until the day DOMA was overturned. Jourdan returned to St. Louis on June 18 as a visitor and by last week, Jourdan now had an open case for a same-sex marriage-based green card petition. He will be able to remain in the U.S until his case is adjudicated. While he waits, he will be fingerprinted and background checked.
While Kirk and Jourdan are one of the first couples in St. Louis to apply for the marriage-based green card, couples in a similar predicament across the country are just beginning the same process. So far, two lesbian couples and one gay couple have received their green cards so far. In six months Kirk and Jourdan will meet with an immigration official who will determine if their relationship is “valid” through an interview. Kirk and Jourdan’s attorney Jim Hacking says, “If it was a heterosexual couple, with the story you’re telling, we’d be in and out. This is going to be interesting to see how this plays out. I’m just along for the ride.”
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.