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Same-Sex Couples Immigration Benefits Based on Marriage

Before June 26, 2013, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, preventing same-sex spouses from seeking immigration benefits based on marriage. However, on June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA as unconstitutional, based on the equal protection clause of the 5th Amendment. Because immigration benefits in the US are administered at the federal level, this new federal recognition of same-sex marriage has opened the pathway for same-sex couples to seek immigration benefits based on marriage.

While the U.S. government still requires that couples seeking family-based immigration benefits be legally married (not including couples with civil unions or other legal rights similar to marriage), the government may recognize marriages that took place in states where same sex-marriage is legal, regardless of whether the couple seeking family-based immigration benefits currently resides in such a state.

With the ruling of DOMA as unconstitutional, U.S. citizens and green card holders can now petition for immigration benefits for their same-sex spouses. If you are seeking assistance with marriage or family-based immigration benefits for yourself or your spouse, please click here to contact us

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