Gay Married Man Gets Green Card
Late Friday, just two days after the US Supreme Court released their decision gutting the Defense of Marriage Act, a permanent visa, aka green card, was issued to Traian Popov, a Bulgarian man married to Florida-based club DJ Julian Marsh.
According to published reports, the notice of approval came via email. The New York Times reports that the approval is "evidence that the Obama administration was acting swiftly to change its visa policies in the wake of the court's decision on Wednesday invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA."
According to the DOMA Project, Julian and Traian met in March 5, 2011 and married in Brooklyn, New York in October 2012. Their home state of Florida does not permit same-sex couples to marry. Traian ("Tray") Popov has been a student in the United States since 1998 and is currently pursuing a PhD in Conflicts Analysis and Resolution. Julian Marsh is an internationally acclaimed DJ and music producer.
As one of the binational couples participating in The DOMA Project, Julian, a U.S. citizen, filed an I-130 Petition for his husband Traian on February 13th, 2013
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has released a statement regarding immigration visa petitions and gay binational couples:
"After last week's decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly. To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse."
The Department of Homeland Security has released this FAQ:
Q1: I am a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in a same-sex marriage to a foreign national. Can I now sponsor my spouse for a family-based immigrant visa?
A1: Yes, you can file the petition. You may file a Form I-130 (and any applicable accompanying application). Your eligibility to petition for your spouse, and your spouse's admissibility as an immigrant at the immigration visa application or adjustment of status stage, will be determined according to applicable immigration law and will not be automatically denied as a result of the same-sex nature of your marriage.
Q2: My spouse and I were married in a U.S. state that recognizes same-sex marriage, but we live in a state that does not. Can I file an immigrant visa petition for my spouse?
A2: Yes, you can file the petition. In evaluating the petition, as a general matter, USCIS looks to the law of the place where the marriage took place when determining whether it is valid for immigration law purposes. That general rule is subject to some limited exceptions under which federal immigration agencies historically have considered the law of the state of residence in addition to the law of the state of celebration of the marriage. Whether those exceptions apply may depend on individual, fact-specific circumstances. If necessary, we may provide further guidance on this question going forward.