San Diego

619-796-1765

1901 First Avenue, 2nd Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

Los Angeles

323-577-8529

355 South Grand Avenue, #2450
Los Angeles, CA 90071

SUPREME COURT FINDS THE DEFENSE AGAINST MARRIAGE ACT (DOMA) UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

In what can only be described as a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional. In a 5-4 decision with the majority opinion given by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court struck down DOMA as a violation of the 5th Amendment and Equal Protection of Law. The Supreme Court’s decision in the DOMA case will have a far reaching impact on immigration law.

What is DOMA?

DOMA was passed in 1996 in response to the movement among several states to recognize same-sex marriages. Essentially DOMA stated that the federal government would not recognize same-sex marriages even if they were officially sanctioned by the state.  Since the Federal Government refused to recognize same-sex marriages, even if a state or foreign country deemed them valid, same-sex spouses could not receive any benefit from the federal government which required marital or spousal status as a requirement. Why did the Supreme Court say the government cannot do this? The court said that marriage is typically defined by the state, and to treat two sets of legally married couples from the same state differently is unconstitutional..

The particular benefit that was at issue in the DOMA case was the failure to refund an estate tax when property passes from one spouse to another. However, the Supreme Court stated in their decision that DOMA affected over 1,000 federal laws which marital or spousal status is addressed as a matter of federal law. United States v. Windsor, (2013). Because the effect of DOMA was to treat gay and lesbian married couples differently than their heterosexual counterparts, the Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional. As a result of this ruling, the federal government must grant any federal benefit heterosexual couples are entitled to (including immigration benefits) to same-sex spouses when the same-sex marriage is done in a state or country where it is legal.

How Does This Impact Federal Immigration Law

Marital or spousal status affects over 1,000 federal laws. Many of these federal laws are the immigration laws of the United States, which the federal government alone has the sole authority to make.

One of the many unfair practices by the government, sanctioned by DOMA, was the fact that heterosexual couples could immigrate their spouse based on a valid marriage, but the same-sex spouses could not.

As a result of this decision, the federal government in their immigration laws must recognize a valid same sex marriage. Therefore, if you are married in a state or country that recognizes same-sex marriages the federal government must treat you the same as it does heterosexual married couples. Meaning, this decision has officially paved the way for spouses of same sex marriages to immigrate to the United States based on their marriage. In addition, this will allow same sex partners to get waivers to certain grounds of removability (ex. Cancellation of Removal) based on their marriage to a US citizen.

This is truly a monumental moment in American history, and another victory against discrimination that took far too long. Given the magnitude of this decision there has been reactions from many prominent Americans, including President Obama. President Obama released the following statement regarding the decision by the Supreme Court, “I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law….” Later in the statement the President added, “We are a people who declared that we are all created equal—and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” Here, at Scales of Justice, LLP, managing partner Pablo Zamora said, “the battle didn’t end for America on July 4, 1776 to gain freedom for all Americans” he added, “finally, we are on the right side of history.”

America is referred to as the land of the free, and the home of the brave. Today the Supreme Court took another step towards showing why we are the land of the free, as a result of the brave same-sex married couples who stood up for what they believe in.

If you have any questions or believe todays monumental ruling may impact you please do not hesitate to give us a call here at Scales of Justice, LLP, (619)796-1765 or email Pablo Zamora at Zamora@tipthescalesforme.com.

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*
CAPTCHA Image
*

Ask Us a Question

  1. (required)
  2. (valid email required)
  3. NOTE: The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form. By clicking “Send” below I acknowledge, understand and agree to the following: I may receive a response to my inquiry from an attorney; I am not forming an attorney-client relationship with Scales of Justice, LLP (SoJ) and understand this law firm does not represent my legal interests; Scales of Justice, has no duty to keep confidential the information I am now sending to the law firm; and I may only retain this firm or any of its attorneys as my attorney by entering into a written fee agreement and I am not hereby entering into a fee agreement.
 

cforms contact form by delicious:days

Connect With Us

Scales of Justice, LLP on Twitter Scales of Justice, LLP on Facebook
AILA Member 2011
 Scales of Justice LLP BBB Business Review

Immigration Law (in California)
All the services relating to immigration and naturalization provided by the firm or corporation shall be provided by an active member of the State Bar or by a person under the supervision of an active member of the State Bar. Pablo Zamora is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia. Pablo Zamora is not an attorney licensed to practice law in California but is an attorney licensed in another state or territory of the United States and is authorized by federal law to represent persons before the Immigration Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

*In compliance with CRPC 1-400, this website acts as an advertisement for Scales of Justice, LLP. Scales of Justice, LLP is the title of the law offices of Rebecca Ritchey, Esq. and Pablo Zamora, Esq. This website is a public resource of general information concerning Scales of Justice, LLP. It is intended, but not promised or guaranteed, to be correct, complete and up-to-date. Links on this website are not intended to be referrals to or endorsements of the linked entities. The attorneys at Scales of Justice, LLP are licensed to practice law in California and Washington D.C. Scales of Justice, LLP does not intend to represent anyone desiring representation in a state where this website fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state.*

Safeguard Privacy Policy
Scales of Justice, LLP strives to protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of customers regarding the use of their information. As an accredited business we agree to:

Respect Privacy. Any and all information supplied to us through this website is confidential. This information is not shared with any other individual, organization or entity. It is strictly used for responding back to questions submitted to us by individuals who contact us through the Scales of Justice, LLP Contact Us page.

Secure Sensitive Data. We do not collect sensitive data through this Contact Us page portion of our website (such as credit card, bank account numbers, social security numbers, medical history or records, etc.). Should any of that information be sent to us through the Scales of Justice, LLP website, we will ensure that it is transmitted via secure means and make efforts to comply with industry standards for the protection and proper disposal of all sensitive data, both online and offline.