Following on New York’s legalization of gay marriage at the end of June came another encouraging development for same sex couples in the immigration sphere:  changing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) priorities may delay or cancel deportations of immigrants married to U.S. citizens of the same sex, despite the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Before an ICE official recently decided to cancel the deportation proceedings of Henry Velandia of Venezuela, married to American citizen Josh Vandiver in Connecticut, an immigration judge in New Jersey, where the couple resides, had suspended the deportation pending legal developments that might provide immigration relief to members of same sex unions.

In another challenge to DOMA earlier in June, a California bankruptcy court ruled that the law was unconstitutional in response to efforts by a gay, married couple to file jointly for bankruptcy.  (Read the decision here.)  While defenders of DOMA argue that a serious constitutional challenge to the law cannot be mounted from bankruptcy court (nor, of course, from immigration court for that matter), these decisions underscore how practical realities like shared residences and shared finances are challenging discrimination against same sex couples.  In the words of Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Donovan, “no legally married couple should be entitled to fewer bankruptcy rights than any other legally married couple.”

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4 Comments

  1. FAEN says:

    Being one half of a binational couple, the death of DOMA cannot come soon enough. It has frakked with my life as well as my partners. We are physically ill, mentally exhausted and walk around in a depressed state most of the time. When are we going to move into the 21st century as a country?

  2. Christian says:

    Hi Faen, I’m in the same situation as you and you took the words out of my mouth. Doma will fall and I hope you and your partner will continue to find the strength and courage to stay together till it does!
    Love,
    Christian

  3. Cathy Jo says:

    I’m the English half of a binational couple. I really believe that if scotus does not overturn doma next year then our allies in congress will reintroduce the Respect For Marriage Act as soon as possible in 2013. We just have to pray for an Obama second term and a democrat house and senate majority.

  4. billy Wingart says:

    gays are winning all over the westernized world. In w. Europe, only italy and greece do not have CUs or marriage for gay couples. And italy, in spite fo the vatican does have about 30% of its area with some legal recognition of gay couoples locally.

    As for greece I saw a note a few mos ago where the leader of the greek orthodox church said that gay marriage was fine by him as long as the church was protected from being forced to do gay marriages.

    In W Europe,, its about 50 – 50 re CUs vs marriage . finland is in the process of changing from RPs to marriage. A BS type statement by a leader of their church resulted in overnight 30,000 people resigning from the state church.

    Denmark, most conservative of those nations is now filling out RPs with parental rights for both gay partners re adoption

    Iceland, free of the scourge of the vatican (only about 3 small catholic churches in the whole country, voted in gay marraige last year by 49 to 0, and their premier then married her GF 3 days later.

    Pride at Reykjavik – half the city turns out for it, its llike a national holliday and most of the people there were hetero couples with children supporting their gay friends and neighbors. There s only one tiny gay bar in Reykjavik for 220000 people, because gays are fully accepted by the society.

    So much good is happening.

    Of course the evangelicals are opposed , but they are for the most part heirs to the religious culture that gave us salvery as per the bible, and then segregation and the kkk.

    While almost all mainline protestant churches now allow gay ministers in relationship and some do marriage for gay couples

    the United Methoidsts – the most conservative of our mainline protestant churches – its an open secret that some, eg 6 in the DC area, do gay marriages. And 1000 ministers signed a petition to their leadership to make gay marriage a standard rite of the church. this was after 170+ minsiters in baltimore and the DC area singed the same kind of petition.

    Its all over except for the evangelicals, the tea party fascists and he catholic church. Beware of a new Inquisition.

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