The End of the Defense of Marriage Act Will Finally Give Us Immigration Equality


The Obama administration’s conclusion that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is constitutionally indefensible could have lasting implications for immigration law. Currently, a US citizen with a same-sex marital partner cannot apply for a green card for his or her spouse. This means that the couple must either live with permanent separation, or the American citizen must move to his or her spouse’s country. The hardship, and basic inhumanity, involved should appall anyone who believes in basic fairness.

The Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed by a Republican Congress and signed by Bill Clinton, was just the latest of a half a dozen laws passed over decades designed to keep homosexuals out of the United States. All of the other anti-gay laws are in the legislative cemetery. I think we can see the hearse on the way to claim DOMA, now.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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