In 1996, when Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law and President Clinton signed it, LGBT couples could not marry anywhere in the United States. Today, over 100,000 gay and lesbian couples have married and all of them suffer from inequality––no matter how long their relationship or how deep their commitment to each other––because the federal government denies recognition of their marriages. These couples are treated as strangers under federal law.
As a result of DOMA Lesbian and gay Americans who are married to foreign citizens are not allowed to petition for their spouses for a “green card” which would allow them to live together permanently in the United States. As a result, same-sex binational couples are forced to live oceans apart or under constant threat of separation, deportation and exile.
Whether you are or are not a same-sex binational couple, the impact of this discrimination is felt throughout the world every day. This discrimination threatens more than 40,000 loving couples and forces Americans out of their own country to be able to build a life with their partners.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Tell the Obama Administration to develop policies that protect all lesbian and gay binational couples and their families!
President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano could take action today to protect all same-sex binational couples.
- Through the implementation of fair prioritization of removal (“deportation”) cases, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency should immediately clarify its written “prosecutorial discretion” policy to include specific reference to spouses and partners of lesbian and gay American citizens. All “DOMA deportation” cases against spouses of U.S. citizens should be terminated through exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
- DHS must immediately offer humanitarian parole to the spouses and partners of all lesbian and gay Americans who are abroad to allow those couples to live together in the United States with the full protection of the U.S. government. As “parolees,” spouses and partners of U.S citizens would be eligible to apply for employment authorization and apply for extensions of their “parole” status in yearly increments until DOMA has been struck down by the Supreme Court or repealed by Congress.
- DHS must immediately direct the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to stop its policy of denying all marriage-based I-130 petitions filed by lesbian and gay American citizens, but instead to hold such cases in abeyance. This would permit the foreign spouse to remain in the United States without accruing unlawful presence and would provide employment authorization and, if otherwise eligible for it, access to an Advance Parole Travel Document, until DOMA is struck down by the Supreme Court or repealed by Congress.
- Write your United States Senators and your Representative in Congress and urge them to contact DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to implement these measures that would provide interim protection to all lesbian and gay binational couples.
- Write directly to Secretary Janet Napolitano and tell her that these policies matter to you.
Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Ensure That Your Elected Representatives in Washington Are Aware of DOMA’s Impact on Your Family
Urge them to end discrimination against lesbian and gay binational couples by working to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Your letters should share why this is important to you, how DOMA affects your life (emotionally, financially, physically), and why this issue cannot be put on aside because of congressional gridlock. And always, always be respectful when contacting your officials.
Sign a Petition
Demand that the Obama Administration institute a clear policy to end all “DOMA deportations.”
Join The DOMA Project, Share Your Story, and Volunteer
Allow your voice to be heard by sharing your story with us at The DOMA Project and join hundreds of other binational couples to fight for the end of Deportations, Separations and Exile caused by DOMA. Please contact us if you are interested in learning about volunteer opportunities with The DOMA Project.
The DOMA Project is currently raising funds through its fiscal sponsor the marriage equality organization, “Love Honor Cherish Foundation.” You can donate to The DOMA Project online, or by check or money order. Every penny you give will go to help defray the cost of our campaign.