On June 28 — just two days after the Supreme Court decision that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denied federal benefits to members of same-sex "marriages" — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services notified Traian Popov, a Bulgarian immigrant who lives with his American partner, that his application for a permanent visa (green card) had been approved. Popov and Julian Marsh, who has joint U.S.-Canadian citizenship, were wed in New York, where same-sex "marriage" is legal. Their “marriage” is not recognized in Florida, where they currently live.
Popov was previously given a student visa and was able to remain in the United States as long as he was enrolled in school. Had DOMA not been struck down, he would have been required to leave the country upon graduation.
The Minnesota Star Tribune reported that the couple's lawyer, Lavi Soloway of The DOMA Project, said his organization has filed about 100 green-card petitions for same-sex couples since 2010 and expects more to be approved in the next few days.
The June 26 Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor found Section 3 of DOMA (codified at 1 U.S.C. § 7) to be unconstitutional “as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, stated: “[DOMA] also forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of state law but unmarried for the purpose of federal law, thus diminishing the stability and predictability of basic personal relations the State has found it proper to acknowledge and protect.”
The New York Times described the approval of Popov’s application as “evidence that the Obama administration was acting swiftly to change its visa policies in the wake of the court’s decision on Wednesday invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.”
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Photo of sample green card.