Same-Sex Bi-national Couples Sue for Marriage Equality

A lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of five gay and lesbian couples could prove to the downfall of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.

According to the Washington Blade,”The lawsuit, known as Blesch v. Holder, targets the inability of these spouses to secure residency in the United States through the marriage-based green card application process.”

The suit was filed by Immigration Equality, an LGBT advocacy group and New York law firm Paul, Weiss.

“The five couples represented in the lawsuit are Edwin Blesch and his South African spouse, Tim Smulian, who reside in Orient, N.Y.; Frances Herbert and her Japanese-born spouse, Takako Ueda, who reside in Dummerston, Vt.; Heather Morgan and her Spanish-born spouse, Maria del Mar Verdugo, who live in New York City; Santiago Ortiz and his Venezuelan-born spouse, Pablo Garcia, who live in Elmhurst, N.Y.; and Kelli Ryan and her British-born spouse, Lucy Truman, who reside in Sandy Hook, Conn,” reports the Blade. columnist Glenn Greenwald, who is himself involved in a Bi-national relationship, writes,” [The] blatantly discriminatory law has produced a serious injustice and substantial hardship: thousands of U.S. citizens are barred from living in their own country with their same-sex spouse. The “luckiest” among them are able to move to their spouse’s country, but that’s a choice available to only a small percentage: for that to work, the foreign spouse’s nation must grant immigration rights to same-sex couples (only a minority of countries do) and the American partner must be able to find work while living outside the U.S.”

“Each time I’ve written about this issue, I receive emails or comments from Americans in this predicament, and they illustrate how severe is the hardship even for those who are relatively lucky in finding some minimally workable solution,” wrote Greenwald in 2010.

DOMA, which prevents the Federal Government from recognizing same-sex couples, was enacted by a Congressional majority in both parties in 1996 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

As The Washington Blade reports,”Immigration Equality’s lawsuit is one of about a dozen pending lawsuits challenging DOMA. This week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals was set to hear oral arguments for two cases, marking the first time an appellate court has held a hearing on DOMA.”

Click HERE to learn more about the suit.


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