DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional on Equal Protection Grounds

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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in United States v. Windsor that the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) is unconstitutional. The decision of the Court applies to same-sex couples who are legally married as defined by their state of residence. Currently twelve states – Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington – and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. We expect that this decision will expand the ability of same-sex married couples resident in these states to successfully apply for immigration benefits for their foreign national spouses.

At this moment, we are waiting to see how this decision will impact the adjudication of benefits by U.S. Consulates and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We await practical guidance on implementation of this decision. We will publish a more detailed alert as soon as more information is available.

The full decision is available here.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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