Immigration Appeals Court Recognizes Same Sex Marriage as Basis for Green Card

In Matter of ZELENIAK, decided today, the Board of Immigration Appeals held that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is no longer an impediment to the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages and spouses under the Immigration Act.

Therefore, an immigrant spouse of a US citizen may acquire lawful permanent resident status in the United States.

The Board ruled that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Windsor has extinguished DOMA as an obstacle to the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages and spouses, if the marriage is valid under the laws of the State where it was celebrated.

Plainly, the recent Windsor decision has been integrated fully into immigration law.

Same sex marriages are now clearly a basis for green cards.

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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