Gay couples are racing to immigration offices to seek visas for their loved ones in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Los Angeles Times reports.
“Now, legally married same-sex couples will now be able to apply for a green card for their non-citizen spouse,” the Times wrote on Tuesday. “And U.S. citizens will be able to file fiance visa applications if their future spouse lives in another country and does not have a visa, according to Immigration Equality, a group that works on immigration issues on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) couples.”
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) tried to offer an amendment to the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill that just passed the Senate that would have effectively done the same thing, but he withdrew it after Senate Democratic leaders and Gang of Eight senators asked him to do so because of the political toxicity of gay marriage and immigration issues would have been too much to carry the bill to passage.
But now with the Supreme Court striking down DOMA, the LA Times notes that gay couples’ lawyers are recommending their clients fill out applications with immigration offices.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, too, that President Barack Obama’s administration plans to move these applications through quickly in the wake of the DOMA decision. “Working with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, we will implement today’s decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws,” Napolitano said in a statement.