DOMA Ruling’s Impact on Immigration

Yesterday’s ruling in the case of United States v. Windsor, where the Supreme Court found Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional, was a victory for individual rights. As my colleague Jason Kuznicki pointed out, this ruling will probably have the greatest material impact on the lives of people through the immigration system. Now, American citizens will be able to sponsor their same-sex spouses for lawful permanent residency as immediate relatives. No more will Americans have to move abroad to live with their same-sex spouses. Americans can now sponsor their spouse’s green cards.

For political reasons, an amendment that would have provided for gay spouse sponsorship was not included in the Senate immigration bill. Senator Rubio went so far as to say that he would oppose the bill if it allowed Americans to sponsor their same-sex spouses, as the Leahy amendment would have done. Now that Section 3 of DOMA is struck down, the Leahy amendment is unneeded, a measure of justice is restored to the immigration system, and the threat of that type of amendment becoming a poison pill is totally removed.