On Friday, the United States for the
first time approved a marriage-based green card petition by a gay
The petition filed by Julian Marsh and
Traian Popov of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was approved two days after
the Supreme Court struck down a critical provision of the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA).
Under DOMA, gay Americans, unlike their
straight counterparts, were prohibited from sponsoring an immigrant
spouse for citizenship. The act prohibited federal agencies from
recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples.
The two men were introduced by friends
in 2011 and married the following year in New York.
“I met him, I fell in love, and that
was it,” Marsh told the DOMA
Popov, who emigrated from Bulgaria, is
currently pursuing a PhD in Conflicts Analysis and Resolution, while
Marsh is an internationally acclaimed DJ and music producer.
Marsh, a U.S. citizen, filed a petition
with USCIS immigration services on February 13th and
received notification of approval by email on Friday.
“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,” Marsh said. “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
Lovi Soloway, co-founder of the DOMA
Project, said that the approval “demonstrates that the Obama
administration's commitment to recognizing the marriages of same-sex
couples nationwide is now a reality on the ground.”
“This historic first green card
approved 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,”