Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Best Part of DOMA's Repeal: Its Impact on Immigration Reform

By Charlene Obernauer, Huffington Post
June 29, 2013

The day that the Defense of Marriage Act was repealed will be a moment that many of us in the GLBT community will remember for the rest of our lives. I'll remember where I was when I heard the news, driving in my car to work, listening while a local radio station took comments from listeners about DOMA's repeal. I didn't call in; I just continued to drive, smiling, with tears slowly streaming down my face. While I'll certainly benefit from this change in policy, for bi-national GLBT couples, DOMA's repeal not only legalizes their relationships, but also makes them able to legally live in the same country together. Even immigration reform would not have had this impact on GLBT immigrants.

Early on in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform, the GLBT community -- particularly the 40,000 same sex bi-national couples living in the U.S. -- were told not to expect much from the bill. Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican Senator from Florida known for his strong support for immigration reform, said that he would walk away from his signature issue if GLBT couples were included. For the GOP in the Senate, GLBT rights were a non-starter. And they won: in the final bill that passed the U.S. Senate on June 27th, GLBT bi-national couples were deliberately excluded.

However, a day before the immigration reform vote, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. [...]

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