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36,000 binational same-sex couples await court's decision

This blog has previously talked about the way in which both the current immigration law and the federal Defense of Marriage Act have made it difficult for binational same-sex couples in Pennsylvania to remain together. Now, with the Senate's rejection of an amendment that would have allowed same-sex couples the right to sponsor their spouses for permanent residence and citizenship, many Lancaster couples are looking to the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, allowing those couples who were married in states that allow for same-sex marriage to sponsor their spouses.

While it is still possible for the Senate and House to change the immigration bill being discussed to include a provision on binational same-sex couples, it remains to be seen whether that will happen. Many more couples are hoping that the court can more quickly make the change they need to stay together with their loved ones.

There are approximately 36,000 binational same-sex couples in the United States and, until either the immigration law or the federal definition of marriage change, their loved ones are frequently at risk of being deported or losing the permission to remain in the country. Many of these couples must turn to alternative methods of staying in the United States, as one couple who are expecting twins have done.

When one woman, a native of Peru, first started dating her now-wife, she was in the United States on a work visa. Deciding to move closer to her then-girlfriend, she needed to change to a student visa and enroll in a bachelors and then master's program in nursing. When she graduates, however, her visa will expire and she will either need to find a new way of remaining in the country, or they may have to move.

Source: NPR, "Same-Sex Couple Seeks Immigration Relief From High Court," Liz Halloran, June 9, 2013

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132 East Chestnut Street
Lancaster, PA 17602

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