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Same Sex Marriage Immigration

Consular Processing and Adjustment of Status Petitions

On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA. With the demise of DOMA, there are no longer any federal legal obstacles in the recognition of same sex marriages. Read the court's decision here: DOMA Struck Down... As such, same sex married couples may now sponsor their same sex partner if they they can prove they are in a "bona fide" marriage. 

The standard that is used to determine which couples are bona fide is, in theory, no different than the standard used for opposite sex married couples. However there are a number of practical issues that a same sex married couple will face that are not commonly faced by opposite sex couples. 

Currently, as long as a couple's marriage was recognized in the state or country where it was entered into, the couple is eligible for immigration benefits.

Every case will depend on individual, fact-specific circumstances, and it will takes years for US immigration authorities to create a clear framework for adjudicating same sex couple petitions. Therefore it's important to have an expert immigration attorney by your side to fight for your family's legal rights. Read more on  bona fide marriages in general here...

 Same sex marriage states prior to new federal court precedent:

  • By State Court Decision: Alaska (Oct. 17, 2014), Arizona (Oct. 17, 2014), California (June 28, 2013), Colorado (Oct. 7, 2014), Connecticut (Nov. 12, 2008), Idaho (Oct. 13, 2014), Indiana (Oct. 6, 2014), Iowa (Apr. 24, 2009), Kansas (Nov. 12, 2014), Massachusetts (May 17, 2004), Nevada (Oct. 9, 2014), New Jersey (Oct. 21, 2013), New Mexico (Dec. 19, 2013), North Carolina (Oct. 10, 2014), Oklahoma (Oct. 6, 2014), Oregon (May 19, 2014), Pennsylvania (May 20, 2014), Utah (Oct. 6, 2014), Virginia (Oct. 6, 2014), West Virginia (Oct. 9, 2014), Wisconsin (Oct. 6, 2014), Wyoming (Oct. 21, 2014)
  • By State Legislature: Delaware (July 1, 2013), Hawaii (Dec. 2, 2013), Illinois (June 1, 2014), Minnesota (Aug. 1, 2013), New Hampshire (Jan. 1, 2010), New York (July 24, 2011), Rhode Island (Aug. 1, 2013), Vermont (Sep. 1, 2009)
  • By Popular Vote: Maine (Dec. 29, 2012), Maryland (Jan. 1, 2013), Washington (Dec. 9, 2012) 
  • Washington, DC legalized same-sex marriage on Mar. 10, 2012.

Andrew M. Koppelman, a law professor at Northwestern, noted for the New York Times in February 2014, “it is becoming increasingly clear to judges that if they rule against same-sex marriage their grandchildren will regard them as bigots.” 

States that recognize same sex marriage under federal case law, but where there is still contrary state law:

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.  

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810 Sycamore Street, 2nd Floor - Cincinnati, Ohio 45202            

This website and the information on it is not legal advice. Do not rely upon any information found on this website or through the links on this website.  You must contact our law firm AND enter into a written legal retainer agreement in order to obtain legal advice from our law firm for your situation. Contact us today so that we can provide you legal advice for your case.