Defense of Marriage Act and Immigration


“With a background as an attorney, through which I look at things and I apply reason […] I cannot legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage.  Who am I to say that someone does not have the same rights that I have with my wife, who I love, or to have the 1300-plus rights that I share with her? […] I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state — the state of New York — and those people who make this state the great state that it is, the same rights that I have have with my wife.”


— New York State Senator Mark J. Grisanti (R, 60th district), before declaring his vote for same-sex marriage in New York, June 24, 2011

Since December of 2010, the LGBT community in the United States has experienced a significant number of meaningful legal victories that began with the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and that have gone on to include the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing, The Respect for Marriage Act: Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families on July 20, 2011, which effectively initiates discussions within the Senate for a possible repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and its replacement with the Respect for Marriage Act which would require the U.S. government to recognize same-sex marriages.  President Obama endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act the day before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing.

Particularly interesting victories have come for foreign nationals in relationships with U.S. citizens since Attorney General Eric Holder announced in February that Department of Justice attorneys would no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act – which, among other things, prohibits the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages for any federal purpose – in lawsuits challenging whether the act is constitutional. Since that time, Mr. Holder has intervened to halt the deportation of a man in a civil union.  Judges across the country, from California to New Jersey, have taken the Attorney General’s decision into account in halting deportation proceedings in cases involving foreign nationals engaged in same-sex marriages.


Given these developments and the reality that laws affecting LGBT Americans and their partners continue to evolve in our country, our firm remains abreast of historic movements that speed the nation in fulfilling the constitutional promises in the Full Faith and Credit and Equal Protection Clauses.


If you have any questions regarding these matters, or if you would like further information, please feel free to contact the Margolis Law Firm.

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