There are an incredible number of people living in Lancaster who are in varying stages of immigration. From those people who moved here to reunite with family members to those who moved here from work, the immigration system has generally allowed those people who were married to move together. Until the federal government recognized same-sex marriages as valid, however, only opposite-sex spouses could immigrate together. If a same-sex couple wanted to immigrate, both of them would need to get jobs and employment-based immigration visas for the same area. There was no guarantee that both would be approved and they could not apply together, meaning many families had to live apart from each other for extended periods of time.
With an anouncement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this month, however, this will change.
According to Kerry, U.S. consular officers will now be treating opposite-sex and same-sex couples equally, which means that if one person gets an immigration visa, his or her husband or wife may also immigrate. This is especially important for same-sex couples in which one person had received permanent residency through his or her immigration visa, as his or her spouse will now also receive permanent residency.
That being said, it will be beneficial to any same-sex couples in any part of the system, whether they are seeking family or employment-based immigration visas. For the first time, same-sex couples will be treated no differently than any other married couples for immigration purposes.
Kerry has said that any legal same-sex marriage will be recognized, not just those who were married in the United States.
Source: CNN, “Kerry: Same-sex spouses’ visas will get equal treatment,” Jill Dougherty and Tom Cohen, Aug. 2, 2013