Immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco joined us today on how the court overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) affects gay couples. She noted up front that civil rights are generally a long, hard slog, but this is one instance in which things changed dramatically for the better immediately.
For the 17 years DOMA was in effect, immigration attorneys could not help same-sex couples seeking immigration into the US. Even when SSM became legal in 15 countries and over a dozen US states, she said she’d have to tell people, “I can’t help you.”
Listen in as she describes how in the large part, the overturning of DOMA in the U.S. v. Windsor decision leveled the field. She also explains how some aspects are not yet equal, such as the arduous waiver process and often a 10-year ban same-sex couples face if the non-US-citizen became discouraged or overstayed a visa and returned overseas. Moreover, she points to the innate unfairness of how workers of H-1B visas could file to bring in their same-sex partner or spouse, while a US citizen was forbidden from doing so.
She could only give us 20 minutes, but we learned quite a bit. She also concluded with a warning for vigilance, for those who think this struggle is over.