On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor opened the federal government to the recognition and acceptance of same-sex marriages. In the United States, regulation of marriage has historically been a function of state law, and the federal government and other states simply accepted each states’ terms and recognized any marriage that was lawful in the state where it was made. In the Windsor case, the Supreme Court upheld that idea, and found no legitimate reason for the federal government to discriminate against same-sex marriages that the states had determined to be legal.
The immediate result of this historic change for same-sex international couples is that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will now process same-sex marriage-based applications and petitions on the same basis as it does for any other marriage. In other words, if you are in a committed same-sex relationship with a partner who is a citizen of another country, you can now expect to be treated with equality in the immigration process.
On December 2, 2013, the State of Hawai’i became the fifteenth state to register and recognize same-sex marriages. This means that same-sex couples who want to obtain immigration benefits for an international partner may now have their marriage ceremony performed here in Hawai’i without the need to go elsewhere.
If you have questions about the process, you should consult an immigration attorney about the current state of law and practice. As this area of relationship-based practice develops, a great many couples stand to gain legal recognition and support for their relationships. Now may be the time to make the commitment. For more information call us at 808-695-3560.
Contact Migration Counsel using the contact form and we will get back to you within one business day, or call us at 808-695-3560 to arrange a FREE no-obligation consultation on any immigration question you might have.
The information presented here is intended to be general in nature, and should not be relied upon as legal advice.