New Yorker’s Deportation Halted Minutes After Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

June 26, 2013 | Marie Calloway

DOMA’s demise meant the end of a long legal battle for one New York City-based binational couple.  Sean Brooks and his Columbian-native husband Steven filed for a green card for Steven in 2011, after their marriage at City Hall in New York City, but their request was not approved as their marriage was not federally recognized. This caused the  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to refuse to grant Steven a green card.

In an editorial published by the DOMA Project in December 2011, Sean Brooks eloquently discussed the oppression he and his partner face in a gay binational marriage. What was particularly striking was the contradiction that their marriage being recognized on a state but not a federal level caused, “…From what I gathered, as long as we lived (and died) in New York, he (or I) could have divorce rights, inheritance rights, and make medical decisions … [But] I cannot petition for Steven to have a green card like any other American can do in my situation, so what good is it to know that we are protected by state laws regarding medical decisions and inheritance rights?”

The overturn of DOMA lessened this contradiction.  Now that Sean and Steve are secure in the knowledge that Steven won’t be deported they can be assured that they will continue to enjoy the benefits of marriage such as the right to make medical decisions for each other. What’s more, the 24, 700 other binational gay couples in the United States can feel more secure, too.