Immigration Rights Denied – Suit Filed by Lesbian Couples

Five lesbian couples are bringing judicial action against the federal government, demanding immigration rights similar to that of the others. Married gay couples continuously face a lot of difficulties. Several cases have been filed on behalf of such gay couples who have been denied constitutional rights. They are prevented from sponsoring Green Cards for their spouses. These complaints challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Each of the five couples is trying to obtain US citizenship for their foreign-born spouse. According to DOMA, a law of 1996, same-sex wedlocks are not recognized by the Federal Government. This law denies federal welfare to gay couples. Several gay couples have been denied Green Cards as the Federal Government does not accept gay and lesbian couples for immigration purposes.

An executive director of the Immigration Equality had said that these families meet all the eligibility requirements to obtain immigration benefits and the only exception is that they happen to be lesbians. Though they were married in states that sanction gay marriages, DOMA is said to violate their constitutional right to equal protection. If these couples were heterosexual, the government would accept the spouse as an immediate relative to the US citizen and there by paving way for US Citizenship.

Complainants Heather Morgan and Maria del Mar Verdugo, live in New York City. They were married last year and the say that their plans for the future are in oblivion because the application for Green Card for Verdugo, who is from Madrid, is unlikely to be approved. Both, Morgan, 36, and Verdugo, 43, say that they love each other without measure and want to live together as a family just like the others. Morgan is the Marketing Director for a global non-profit organization in New York but still she is considered ineligible to sponsor a Green Card for her spouse. Other plaintiffs include people from Japan, South Africa and England.

DOMA is soon expected to recognize same-sex marriages and the opponents of same-sex marriages are worried about the other states as they may be forced to acknowledge such marriages. Many states have their own bans on gay marriages whereas 8 states (Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Washington, New Hampshire, Maryland and District of Columbia) have legalized such marriages, since the national jurisprudence was passed in 1996. However, the laws of Maryland and Washington state are still not in effect.

Gay and lesbian couples are even denied federal benefits including the eligibility to file tax returns jointly. Such reasons have led them to file a suit against DOMA, as this law has unconstitutional discrimination against same-sex couples.