The United States Department of Homeland Security, under a directive from President Barack Obama, took steps to ensure that federal benefits for married same-sex couples were implemented by issuing new guidance for immigration petitions. This move is the result of the Supreme Court’s ruling that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued this statement:
“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.”
Under thew new guidance, same-sex couples who are legally married will be accorded the same immigration consideration as opposite-sex couples. Eligibility will now be determined according to applicable immigration law and will not be automatically denied as a result of same-sex marriage.
The new guidance not only applies to legally married couples residing in states that recognize same-sex marriage, but also to any couples residing in the United States who are legally married in any US jurisdiction.