The United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, decided last Friday that gay marriage was a constitutional right. In finding that this right falls under an individual’s right to privacy and rights under the Equal Protection Clause, Justice Kennedy argued that “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family…….In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were.”
So, what are the immigration consequences of this ruling? This change has been in the works for years now. After the United States Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in 2013, the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services made it clear that they would honor petitions for green cards through marriage from same-sex couples. However, this ruling did not prohibit states from enacting laws against gay marriage.
Prior to Friday’s ruling, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Ohio, and Tennessee, all had laws against gay marriage. That will now change. Prior to the ruling, a U.S. citizen that lived in one of these thirteen states could not file a petition for a green card for a future spouse if they were in a homosexual relationship. Now, anyone in any state will be able to file a petition for a green card for their potential spouse regardless of sexual orientation.
This ruling should increase the amount of green card applications to USCIS in the near future. If you or a loved needs immigration advice, give my office a call. We handle all types green card petitions. Call today to determine if we can help you.
Please note that by reading this blog you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with Hubbs Law, P.A. This blog only provides general legal information. Every case is unique and you should request a consultation to ensure that you are getting the correct legal advice for your specific case.