The Government Makes It Official: You Can Sponsor Your Same-Sex Spouse's Citizenship

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 2 2013 10:44 AM

The Government Makes It Official: You Can Sponsor Your Same-Sex Spouse's Citizenship

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Pride marchers celebrate a slew of recent victories—including the long sought-after goal of immigration equality, which arrived officially on Monday.

Photo by Sarah Rice/Getty Images

As we reported yesterday, binational gay couples began receiving green cards over the weekend following the fall of DOMA—with no explanation from the government of exactly how immigration policy had changed. Yesterday, Politico reports, we got our answer:

The Department of Homeland Security said in response to President Barack Obama’s direction to implement benefits for legally married gay couples “swiftly and smoothly,” the change would be immediate.
“To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse,” DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement on Monday.
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Notably, binational gay couples married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages will be eligible for a green card even if their state of residence does not respect their union. Of course, such couples will still be subject to unequal treatment under state law—just ask the Pennsylvania resident forced to legally adopt his partner of forty years to avoid hefty inheritance taxes.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.