DOS Cable on DOMA

DOS Cable on DOMA


AUG 13


1. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court held Section 3 of the Defense
of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. That decision has many
immigration-related implications for same sex couples.

2. Beginning immediately, consular officers should review visa
applications filed by a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those
filed by an opposite-sex spouse, unless a specific provision of the
federal immigration laws requires a different approach. The Visa
Office (VO) deleted 9 FAM 40.1 N1.1 (a), which limited the word
"marriage" for immigration purposes to mean "only a legal union
between one man and one woman as husband and wife," and the word
"spouse" to mean only "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband
or a wife." A same-sex marriage is now valid for immigration
purposes, as long as the marriage is recognized in the "place of
celebration." A same-sex marriage is valid for immigration purposes
even if the couple intends ultimately to reside in one of the 37
states that do not recognize same-sex marriages. The same-sex
marriage is valid even if the applicant is applying in a country in
which same-sex marriage is illegal.

Action Request

3. The Department asks consular sections to identify what types of
marriages are available for same-sex couples in-country and update
the reciprocity tables, pursuant to 9 FAM 41.105. This information
will be useful for Department and USCIS colleagues adjudicating I-130
petitions. [More...]"