U.S. senator asks government to reconsider denied immigration petitions of same-sex couples


By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

July 16, 2013

NEW YORK – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal called on the US Federal Government to reconsider US citizenship petitions that have been denied under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), to spare bi-national same-sex couples the cost and time of re-applying.

The senator said that this is a move that would make sense as a matter of law, and simple humanitarian justice.

Immigration lawyer Michael Gurfinkel explained that the Supreme Court’s ruling completely nullifies the definition of marriage as a legal relationship between one man and one woman only.

“In other words, whatever immigration benefits have been available to opposite sex couples, as a result of Supreme Court’s ruling striking down DOMA, those same benefits are now available to same-sex couples,” said Gurfinkel, host of the show Citizen Pinoy.

After the Supreme Court’s ruling, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as well as the Department of State (DOS) all issued statements offering their full support for the decision to extend federal benefits to same sex couples.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano even said that it should be implemented immediately.

The ruling not only benefits same-sex spouses of US citizens and green card holders, it would also benefit spouses or dependents of those on temporary or employment based visas.

“Let’s say for example, your partner or spouse has an H1B you could possibly qualify for H4. If the U.S. citizen spouse or partner is in the U.S. and they have the boyfriend or girlfriend back home, they could possibly qualify for fiancée visa.  For employment-based visas, if one spouse is under petition by an employer and they get married to the same-sex spouse, that same sex spouse could possibly be included under that employer’s petition,” said Gurfinkel.

But most importantly, Gurfinkel pointed out, that these marriages must be bonafide good faith marriages that are done out of love and not out of necessity.

Members and families of the LGBTQ community may ask Attorney Gurfinkel their immigration questions regarding same-sex marriage petitions on July 24 in Redwood City for a special Citizen Pinoy episode on the death of DOMA and immigration.

You may visit http://www.citizenpinoy.com to register or to get more information.

For other information, you may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com.

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