The DOMA Project announced this weekend that the US government approved a green card petition for a foreign national spouse of a gay American man, based upon their legal New York marriage
Another benchmark of gay rights history was achieved during a historically dramatic week, when just two days after the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, Section 3, a married gay couple–Julian Marsh and Traian Popov of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, were notified at 3:45 p.m. EDT by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, that Julian’s petition for a green card allowing his Bulgarian husband to become a legal permanent resident of the United States had been approved.
“We have love, joy and happiness in our lives, 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, ” said Julian Marsh.
Julian and Traian met March 5, 2011 at a friend’s house in Florida. Within a week, they had a second meeting at another friend’s house and began dating shortly thereafter. They married in Brooklyn, New York in October 2012 because of their personal connections to New York and because legal marriage for same-sex couples in Florida is prohibited under law.
As one of the binational couples participating in The DOMA Project, Marsh, a U.S. citizen, filed an I-130 Petition for his husband Traian on February 13, 2013. Notification of the approval of Marsh’s petition arrived by e-mail on Friday from the government which coincided with his birthday.
“The approval of this petition demonstrates that the Obama Administration’s commitment to recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples nationwide is now a reality on the ground, just two days after the Supreme Court’s striking down DOMA,” said Lavi Soloway, co-founder of The DOMA Project. ”We expect additional approvals of green card petitions in the coming days.”
Soloway added: ”It is symbolically important that the first gay couple to receive approval of their green card petition in Florida, a state that has a constitutional ban preventing same-sex couples from marrying. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has repeatedly and shamefully scapegoated gay American and their families, threatening to kill comprehensive immigration reform if it was included a provision for LGBT families. Today, the Supreme Court ruling affirmed that committed and loving bi-national lesbian and gay couples in Florida and across the country deserve to be treated with respect and equal recognition under the law by the federal government. In stark contrast to Senator Rubio’s disparaging tone rejecting the dignity of lesbian and gay Americans, the Supreme Court ruling and the green card approval have brought justice to Julian and Traian.”
Congratulations to Julian and Traian and to The DOMA Project, a campaign launched by a group of married bi-national couples who were working with Lavi Soloway and Noemi Masliah in 2010. Soloway and Masliah Soloway and Masliah have been leaders in this field for more than two decades, having also founded of Immigration Equality in 1993, and are partners in the law firm Masliah & Soloway, that specializes in immigration law. Lavi and Noemi deserve so much credit for this week’s historical achievement and break through on behalf of bi-national same-sex couples in America.
Image of Julian Marsh and Trian Popov courtesy of The DOMA Project
Tanya L. Domi is the Deputy Editor of the New Civil Rights Movement. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and teaches human rights in East Central Europe and former Yugoslavia. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi was a nationally recognized LGBT civil rights activist who worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force during the campaign to lift the military ban in the early 1990s. Domi has also worked internationally in a dozen countries on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights and gender issues. She is chair of the board of directors for GetEQUAL. Domi is currently writing a book about the emerging LGBT human rights movement in the Western Balkans.
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