Section 3 of DOMA Declared Unconstitutional: Same-Sex Couples May Now Apply for a Green Card for a Spouse

In a victory for same-sex couples across the nation, the United States Supreme Court has ruled DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) unconstitutional. What does this mean for immigrants who are currently married to a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident?

This decision means that the federal government may no longer deny an immigrant who is lawfully married to a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident benefits solely on the basis of the fact that the marriage is between two men or two women. 

In order for a marriage to be lawful, it must be recognized as valid in the country or state in which it occurred. However, because the Defense of Marriage Act and all of immigration law is federal law, the couple need not currently reside in a place where same-sex marriage is legal. For example, a couple who married in Connecticut and currently reside in Arkansas will now be eligible for benefits under federal immigration law.

It is important to note that the new ruling applies only to couples who are lawfully married. Couples united through a civil union or any other type of non-marital union remain ineligible. In addition, local prejudice against same-sex couples may make the process of applying for a green card through a spouse more difficult.

To read more about the Supreme Court's decision, see below:

To schedule a consultation to discuss how this decision may impact you, please visit our website at or call us today at 415-496-9040.