Equal And Not Separate

U.S. Applies Marriage Benefits to Visa Applications

The end of DOMA keeps bringing benefits that most of us probably never knew we were denied. The latest: the State Department will now process visa applications from married same-sex couples the same way they’ve been processing those of heterosexual couples.  That means couples will no longer be forced to be separated when traveling or coming to the U.S.

“As long as a marriage has been performed in the jurisdiction that recognizes it, then that marriage is valid under U.S. immigration laws. Every married couple will be treated exactly the same, and that is what we believe is appropriate,” Secretary of State John Kerry said.

The benefit will be felt mostly by gay couples overseas. If one spouse has a visa to come to the U.S. for work or study, the other spouse can also apply to come along. Previously, the spouse without the visa would have had to apply as a separate individual if he or she wanted to come to the U.S. The change in policy will also help Americans living in other countries bring their husband or wife into the U.S.

The latest policy change dovetails with the new immigration policy protecting bi-national same-sex couples. Keep looking for other benefits to emerge as the DOMA decision keeps working its way through the federal bureaucracy.