Same-Sex Couples and Post-DOMA Immigration Issues

August 01, 2013 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Article by Matt J. Martinez and fellow Phoenix immigration attorney Jared C. Leung reviews new immigration policies

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional has opened the door to married same-sex couples enjoying the same benefits as married heterosexual couples. The impact of this landmark case on U.S. immigration laws is the subject of a timely article by Phoenix attorneys Jared C. Leung and Matt J. Martinez of the law firm of Fennemore Craig. The article entitled "Unchartered Territories DOMA and Immigration" is available at

Prior to the Supreme Court ruling, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services took the position that same-sex couples, even if their marriage was performed in a state that recognized such unions as legal, could not receive the same immigration benefits usually granted to married couples. For example, an American citizen could sponsor a foreign spouse to obtain a green card to enter and reside lawfully in the U.S. or to obtain work. Individuals in the U.S. under an H 1B visa working in a specialty occupation could bring their spouses here as dependants. Now, with the demise of section 3 of DOMA, legally married same-sex couples have the same opportunities as heterosexual couples.

Mr. Leung and Mr. Martinez review not only the great strides made by same-sex married couples, but they delve into immigration issues that remain unresolved. For instance, proving the truthfulness of a marriage has always been an issue for individuals sponsoring a foreign spouse. Because of the lengths that some people will go in order to gain entry into the United States, immigration officials are watchful for marriages entered into by couples solely to circumvent immigration laws.

As explained in the article, same-sex couples might have difficulty obtaining proof beyond a marriage certificate of the truthfulness of their relationship. Employment and other records might show each person's marital status as "single" because of the influence of DOMA, and it could be a challenge to obtain affidavits from religious leaders or family members who might not approve of the relationship even if it is legal under state law.

About Fennemore Craig

Fennemore Craig is a national law firm offering a full range of legal services, including immigration law, through its offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, Denver, Reno and Nogales. For more information about the firm, visit