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US Supreme Court Opens Paths to Immigration for Same Sex Couples

Are you or your partner looking to work in the US? Read on...


American immigration lawyer Joe Adams has worked in the entertainment-related world of U.S. immigration law for many years, working on numerous visa and greencard petitions with an unmatched level of successful outcomes. Along with British visa expert and former BBC TV presenter James McCourt, they are holding a seminar for actors/singers/writers/performers/directors and more next week in London. Here, Joe explains how the U.S. Supreme Court';s recent rulings have opened immigration paths to the U.S. for same sex couples...

The United States Supreme Court unequivocally affirmed that there is no legitimate reason for the federal government to discriminate against married couples on account of their sexual orientation. The Justices struck down section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, noting in their decision, “DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal.”

For far too long, gay and lesbian U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have been barred from obtaining immigration status for their noncitizen spouses. As a result, families have been separated and spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been deported from the United States.

This historic decision means that our immigration system must stop treating gay and lesbian families differently than other families. Binational same sex couples will soon be able to obtain greencards based on the U.S. spouse's citizenship or permanent residence status. Additionally, non U.S. couples where one spouse is qualified for a visa or greencard will be able to obtain derivative visas and greencards for the other spouse. These are all benefits opposite sex married couples have always enjoyed.

President Obama issued an immediate directive to the Attorney General to, “Work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.”

The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano also issued a statement to press confirming that DHS is, “working with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, [to] implement today's decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws."

Over the coming days and weeks it will become more clear how this ruling, and the related ruling striking California’s Proposition 8 (which banned same sex marriage) will be implemented.

The 2nd Annual U.S. Entertainment Immigration Seminar takes place on Tuesday July 9 2013 from 10:30AM to 11:45 AM in London. Click here for more details.

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