Immigration Equality on behalf of five
gay and lesbian couples files suit Monday in New York against the
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Clinton-era law that bars federal
agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples.
The suit alleges that DOMA denies them
the right to petition for permanent residence, as straight couples
“Solely because of DOMA and its
unconstitutional discrimination against same-sex couples these
Plaintiffs are being denied the immigration rights afforded to other
similarly situated binational couples,” the suit states.
Were the plaintiffs not gay, “the
federal government would recognize the foreign spouse as an
'immediate relative' of a United States citizen, thereby allowing the
American spouse to petition for an immigrant visa for the foreign
spouse, and place [him/her] on the path to lawful permanent residence
The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory
Group (BLAG), at the direction of House Speaker John Boehner, last
year began defending the law in court after President Barack Obama
directed the Department of Justice to no longer do so. BLAG has
intervened in as many as 12 DOMA cases.
Plaintiffs in Blesch
v. Holder include Edwin Blesch and Timothy Smulian, Frances
Herbert and Takako Ueda, Santiago Ortiz and Pablo Garcia, and Heather
Morgan and Maria del Mar Verdugo.
in DOMA case include Dean Hara, windower of Rep. Gerry Studds.)