Immigration Equality Prepping Binational DOMA Case

Immigrationequality LGBT group Immigration Equality will soon make history by filing the first DOMA lawsuit for binational couples.

“There’s no doubt that the administration’s new stance on DOMA has created a new window of opportunity to advocate on behalf of our families within the court system,” said Steve Ralls, spokesman for Immigration Equality. “We believe we have a good shot at winning and securing immigration rights for, at the very least, couples who are legally married in states where those marriages are valid.”

Though Ralls and company have yet to select their brave plaintiffs, they're currently interviewing couples and hope to have everything set within the next few weeks, providing what Ralls calls "a real opportunity to bring a successful challenge in federal court and win a victory for couples who are struggling to remain together under current immigration laws."

Hopefully the forthcoming suit will expand people's understanding of just how painful and omnipresent marriage prohibitions can be, because I bet the majority of Americans don't even realize how binational couples are impacted by discriminatory laws. And, if you ask me, bringing immigration and LGBT activists into the same arena can only bring progress for everyone involved.


  1. gregory says

    this is very good news. my boyfriend and i have been separated since the summer because of visa issues…

  2. C says

    Don’t lump me into this category. Associating illegal immigration with the right to marry just makes conservatives hate us even more. I’m sorry if your boyfriend/girlfriend has to leave, but if they didn’t come here legally in the first place, they should get the F out. I am pro-gay marriage but anti-illegal immigration.

  3. John Freeman says

    As the “victim” of two failed relationships that crashed under the pressure of immigration policy, I sympathize with anyone attempting to change policy regarding same sex partner immigration. Many governments, including the US, have no respect for the relationships of LGBT people. They would rather we stay alone (and presumed celibate?) than married and happy, productive members of society. It makes no sense, but then most prejudice does not.

  4. AG says


    Nobody mentioned here illegal immigration. Same-sex partners are punished by the lack of immigration rights even if absolutely everyone followed every immigration rule.

  5. michael says

    C, As an American living abroad… I am deeply ashamed by your words. This has nothing to do with coming in illegally, instead it has everything to do with coming in legally.

    I have friends here that have been married for 5 years, 1 American and 1 Polish. They are stuck living together legally in a 3rd country (Holland) that does recognize their marriage. The 1 is an *AMERICAN CITIZEN* and yet he is not allowed to return to the US, unless he leaves his LEGALLY MARRIED HUSBAND behind because his husband can’t get a visa for the field that he works in.

  6. Ville says

    C, I’m a PhD student on a student visa. I come here legally, pay out-of-state tuition fees and contribute to the local economy by renting local apartment, paying all the bills and teaching the American undergrads. I happen to fall in love with an American man. Since DOMA denies to recognize my relationship, my partner can’t sponsor me for a permanent residency. If I can’t find any employers to issue me a work visa (it’s a complicated process and depends on annual quota by the Department of Homeland Security), it’s likely that I will have to end my marriage and get to F out of this country like you wish.

    It annoys me to see straight men who can easily sponsor foreign women through marriage. These women could be former prostitutes or bar girls, unskilled and unable to speak English.

    I’m tired of hearing ignorant gay people screaming for equal rights, but couldn’t care less if those rights do not apply to their lives. It is okay for straight Americans to sponsor permanent residency for their spouses, but who cares if it’s gay Americans?

    Please get educated that not all foreign gay spouses are here illegally.

  7. Timzilla says

    My English partner and I follow the law exactingly. Under draconian US immigration law, not doing so would not only mean the end of our relationship, if would have very harsh legal repercussions. When he visits, he is routinely taken aside and harassed by ICE about the specifics of our relationship. An entitled heterosexual would be livid about such treatment. But he is British proper, friendly and exceedingly cooperative, always doing his best to charm them so he can see me once again.

    If we were to legally marry, in a state that allows same-sex marriage or in the UK, ICE would bar him from entry into the US indefinitely. ICE refuses to recognize legal marriages for immigration purposes, but will gladly use them to force binational couples apart, effectively ending their relationships if the US citizen is unable to move to their partner’s country. That is why we always tell them we have no intention of memorializing our relationship. We would love to, but we have no intention of doing so. I have been going there more often recently, because ICE has gotten very nasty and could just stop him from entering for no reason at all.

    In my experience, most binational couples are law abiding citizens who suffer the forced separation from their partners quietly, out of love. I love my partner so much I would never do anything that would mean I would never see him again. This lawsuit if for people like us who simply no longer wish to have to choose between their country and the person they love.

  8. RedCedar says

    “I’m sorry if your boyfriend/girlfriend has to leave, but if they didn’t come here legally in the first place, they should get the F out.”

    You do realize you’re making an enormous, and presumptively bigoted, assumption here, right?

    Even if a gay immigrant enters legally, falls in love and gets married legally, once the visa expires the immigrant has to leave because the federal government won’t recognize the marriage.

    I don’t know about you, but I think that’s unamerican.

  9. marcusldn says

    there’s always the usual moron who makes dangerous assumptions when he reads articles like this. Lots of people come to the US on Visas: for student purposes, for temporary work, for tourist reasons, you name it.
    A straight person might fall in love anywhere he/she might be, in America, Europe, Australia … Well, guess what: the same thing happens to a gay. Therefore, a gay person might be in the US during his/her Visa and falls mad in love with an American citizen. The visa expires, the person leaves the country, the dilemma starts. Shall I give up on the best thing that happened in my life? Will the person join me in my country? Will I ever have my relationship recognised in his/her country? It’s not an ideal place to be. But if narrow minded Americans just got on with their lives without ruling others’, then gay people would have their love finally opened up to any flag or colour. But that is expecting too much from a country that, until the 60s, forbade a man and a woman to marry if they were from different races (despite both being American). Welcome to the wonderful American Life … mmmhh, it’s more a Truman show to me actually!!