Now that DOMA is gone, the federal government is hard at work getting its bureaucratic ducks in a row. The latest change to federal policy applies to immigration rights. The Department of Homeland Security has finalized new guidelines that grant same-sex married couples the same rights as any other married couple.
The new policy means that same-sex bi-national couples who are married will get the same consideration as opposite sex-couples when one spouse is applying for legal status in the U.S. Any couples who had previously applied for that status will have their files reopened, which will save them the time of going through the application process again.
The ruling is a relief to same-sex bi-national couples, who previously faced separation or the option to leave the U.S. The policy change is particularly timely since the Senate decided not to offer protections to same-sex couples as part of its immigration reform bill. No matter how slow bureaucracy may be, these days it’s always faster than Congress.