Gay Couple in Florida Receives Approval of Marriage-Based Green Card Petition Just Two Days After Historic Supreme Court Ruling Striking Down DOMA
The DOMA Project Couple Receives First-Ever Approval of Green Card Petition, Recognizing their Marriage
Just two days after the historic Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act Section 3, The DOMA Project participants, Julian Marsh and Traian Popov of Fort Lauderdale, Florida received good news. Julian’s green card petition for his Bulgarian husband was approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at 3:45 p.m. EDT Friday afternoon June 28th. On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that prohibited the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples for all purposes including immigration benefits, as a violation of the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Julian and Traian met in March 5, 2011 at a friend’s home in Florida. Within a week, they had a second run-in at another friend’s house and began dating shortly thereafter. “I met him, I fell in love, and that was it,” says Julian. They married in Brooklyn, New York in October 2012, because of the connections both have had to New York City and because their home state of Florida does not permit same-sex couples to marry. Traian (“Tray”) Popov has been a student in the United States since 1998 and is currently pursuing a PhD in Conflicts Analysis and Resolution. Julian Marsh is an internationally acclaimed DJ and music producer.
As one of the binational couples participating in The DOMA Project, Julian, a U.S. citizen, filed an I-130 Petition for his husband Traian on February 13th, 2013. Notification of the approval of his petition arrived by e-mail on Friday from USCIS within just two days of the Supreme Court ruling. June 28th was also, coincidentally, Julian’s birthday.
Since it was founded in 2010 by attorneys Lavi Soloway and Noemi Masliah, The DOMA Project has filed almost 100 green card petitions for same-sex couples affected by DOMA. USCIS has announced that will soon issue guidance for all DOMA-impacted immigration cases. The DOMA Project is working closely with members of Congress and with the Obama administration to ensure that all petitions and applications filed by lesbian and gay couples be handled and processed as expeditiously as possible.
Florida’s Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio stated on June 13th that he would walk away from any Senate bill to address the needs of same-sex couples and their families.
“We have love, joy and happiness in our lives. Thanks to the Supreme Court and President Obama we have an approved green card petition and we get to stay in our home and our country. If DOMA had not been struck down we were faced with no alternative but to leave our home and the country that we love so much. We feel extremely grateful and fortunate to have been given the greatest gift possible as we celebrate gay pride around the country. Today we rejoice. Next week we get back to work to defeat all the barriers to full equality,” said Julian from his home in Florida.
From Lavi Soloway, Attorney and Co-Founder of the DOMA Project:
“The approval of this petition demonstrates that the Obama administration’s commitment to recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples nationwide is now a reality on the ground, just two days after the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down DOMA. We expect additional approvals of green card petitions in the coming days.
“It is symbolically important that the first gay couple to receive approval of their green card petition live in Florida, a state that has a constitutional ban preventing same-sex couples from marrying. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) has repeatedly and shamefully scapegoated gay Americans and their families, threatening to kill comprehensive immigration reform if it included a provision for LGBT families. Today, the Supreme Court ruling affirmed that committed and loving binational lesbian and gay couples in Florida and across the country deserve to be treated with respect and equal recognition under the law by the federal government. In stark contrast to Senator Rubio’s disparaging tone rejecting the dignity of lesbian and gay Americans, the Supreme Court ruling and the green card approval have brought justice to Julian and Traian.”
“This historic first green card approval confirms that for immigration purposes the Supreme Court ruling striking down DOMA will extend equal recognition to same-sex couples in all 50 states, as long as they have a valid marriage.”
The DOMA Project is a campaign to stop the deportations, separations, and exile of gay and lesbian binational couples caused by the Defense of Marriage Act.