4 Main Problems (and Solutions) in Same Sex Marriage Green Card Cases

It’s now been a few years  since same sex marriage has been considered legal in the United States

Let’s address some of the common problems and solutions for same sex marriage Green Card cases.

Now, same sex marriage green cards between citizens and immigrants may form the basis for legal immigration.

Here are the 4 Main Problems (and Solutions) in Same Sex Marriage Green Card Cases:

  1. Let’s suppose that the couple includes a person who has a prior marriage-based immigration case with an ex-spouse of the opposite sex.  This scenario will not be uncommon.  The Immigration Service could ask significant questions.  Will an officer conclude that the first marriage was fraudulent and deny the new application as a result?  Couples need superior immigration lawyers and should be ready to prove that the first marriage was real. After all, folks marry for many reasons.Classic examples include:
    • someone who has not yet come out of the closet;
    • an individual wants children;
    • religious beliefs; and
    • family expectations.
  2. Moreover, it might be a very good idea to appear at the Immigration Service hearing with psychological evaluations explaining that the applicant is bisexual. This professional medical opinion will explain, for example, how a man could be married to a woman earlier in life and now be married to another man. These are hardly new concepts. After all, it has been 80 years since Dr. Alfred Kinsey first began his study of sexuality.
  3. Another fact pattern – that we have seen many times in immigration practice – involves cultural norms.  In approximately 80 nations, homosexuality is illegal. In many of these countries, arranged marriages are common as well.  Do the math, and you will quickly see how a same sex couple could include a spouse with a divorce from a first (opposite sex) marriage in his or her homeland,
  4. The final issue to consider has to do with domestic violence. In certain cities and states, the police may be called due to a dispute in the home which included an alleged assault.  The rationale of law enforcement might be to arrest a man who strikes a woman, but what about a fight between two men?  Or two women?  The likelihood of dual arrests may rise in a household conflict involving a couple of the same sex.  The existence of a police record due to domestic violence will potentially impede the green card process, so you need to review the criminal history very carefully and be ready for questions.

So far same-sex marriage has been treated exactly like opposite-sex marriage aside from these few issues listed above that are more specific to same-sex relationships.

If you, a friend, co-worker, neighbor, or loved one, is involved in a same sex marriage that will be the basis for a green card application, be aware of the above problems and solutions, and contact an immigration lawyer to walk you through your application.


Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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