Non-Citizens File Lawsuit Against DOMA

Lucy Truman and Kelli Ryan and four other binational couples filed suit against DOMA.

DOMA is under the microscope again, as lawyers from Immigration Equality – an advocacy group that supports the rights of LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants – filed a suit against the federal government on April 2 in New York district court. The group is representing five same-sex couples who are suing over the DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which they say denies same-sex married couples the right to sponsor their non-citizen spouses for permanent residency in the United States. Here is a copy of the complaint.

The suit names as defendants Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas and two other immigration officials. It alleges that the federal government is violating the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by denying rights to one set of legally married couples while preserving the rights of another, based on gender and sexual orientation.

“The five plaintiff couples are like other married couples,” the suit states. “They met, fell in love, and chose to build a life together. They too committed themselves to one another in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. They have honored and kept that commitment to one another. They have chosen to be together and to make the United States their family’s home. However, because they are married to someone of the same sex, they are denied the federal immigration benefits to which different-sex married couples are entitled. They are at constant risk of being forced apart or forced to leave the United States to stay together.”

Each of the couples are in marriages legally recognized by the states in which they reside. Lat year, the Obama administration formally announced that they found DOMA to be unconstitutionally discriminatory, and said officials would no longer defend it in the courts.