The Supreme Court's landmark decision to strike down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and essentially nullify California's gay marriage ban known as Proposition 8 had immediate repercussions for binational lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples trying to keep their families together in America. In particular, it had an immediate effect on deportation proceedings.
Sean and Steven Brooks are just one couple affected by the decision.
Sean Brooks, a New York musician, has been legally married to his Colombian husband, Steven, ever since New York State legalized gay marriage in 2011. But like about 28,500 other binational same-sex couples, Steven was not entitled to a spousal visa because his marriage to Sean was not legally recognized by the federal government, leaving Steven vulnerable to deportation proceedings.
"It makes a mockery of the victory of marriage equality to know that the most powerful government in this country, the federal government in Washington D.C., refuses to recognize our marriage because of the Defense of Marriage Act," Sean wrote in a blog for The DOMA Project in 2011. "They would just as soon deport Steven even though we have been together as a couple for seven years and we are legally married. It seems to me that I have spent my whole life trying to not be a second-class citizen, but that effort has been quietly and insidiously trumped by becoming an 'other-class citizen.'"
Last year, Steven's green card petition was denied by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and deportation proceedings began. However, according to The DOMA Project, the proceedings have been halted following the Supreme Court's decision against DOMA earlier Wednesday morning.
According to The DOMA Project's Facebook page:
10:30 EDT: NYC Immigration Judge stopped #deportation proceedings for Colombian man married to gay American citizen after #SCOTUS ruling on #DOMA. Steven and Sean, The DOMA Project participants, filed for a green card on the basis of their marriage last year. This morning our intern, Gabe, ran the 77-page ruling and delivered it the Immigration Court five blocks from our office. It was still warm from the printer.
"The Supreme Court ruling comes as a future goal post to look forward to now that federal laws has ended the discrimination against their love," Think Progress' Esther Yu-Hsi Lee noted. "It also will finally allow the federal government to treat all LGBT families equally by allowing them access to federal benefits and protections."