HOST INTRO: The Supreme Court heard two big cases this week that will affect the future of same-sex marriage. The first case dealt with Proposition 8 and whether or not it is legal for California to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. The second case challenges DOMA, or the Defense of Marriage Act.
DOMA defines marriage as between a man and a woman on a federal level. This definition excludes same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits that come with marriage.
For couples in which one partner is a U.S. citizen and one is foreign national, the American spouse can’t sponsor his or her same-sex partner for immigration.
Noemi Masliah works at the DOMA project, a same-sex marriage advocacy group. She says that DOMA has affected bi-national couples ever since it was signed into law in 1996.
“A straight couple gets married and if one’s a U.S. citizen and the other one is not, that U.S. citizen could petition, thereby having the foreign national be able to immigrate the United States. That’s the crux of the mission of the immigration law which is family immigration, the unification of families.” (0:20)
Although, an estimated 30,000 binational, same-sex couples still live in the United States, many couples have decided to live abroad, rather than be separated. They all stand to benefit if DOMA is repealed.
“We have many, many couples telling how the impact, the discriminatory impact of DOMA, is on them, they’re bi-national couples, they want to live here together, they’re married and because of DOMA they are unable to have the security of knowing that the laws will allow them to live in the United States.” (0:18)
Although gay marriage is currently legal in New York, couples will only be eligible for federal benefits if DOMA is overturned.
“In many jurisdictions, United States citizens are able to marry their same-sex partners, they are not able to procure immigration benefits based on that marriage in the United states because of DOMA.” (0:11)
The Supreme Court will decision will be announced in June.