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Respect for Marriage Act’s impact on New York immigration

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | Immigration

Congress recently passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which guaranteed protections for same-sex marriages if the Supreme Court ever overturned the decision it made in 2015 with Obergefell v. Hodges. The landmark bill was signed into law on December 13, 2022, and this may have some implications for immigration in New York to be aware of.

Guaranteed federal and state-level recognition of same-sex marriage

This bill falls short of the precedent set by the Supreme Court in Obergefell, but it may serve as an important legal safety net if that ruling were to be struck down. One notable protection offered by this bill comes at both the state and federal levels. It’s a requirement that same-sex marriages are recognized by state law and the federal government, and it doesn’t matter what happens in the Supreme Court.

This is great news for same-sex couples who have immigrated to the United States. The bill may turn out to be vital to protect the validity of their union.

Now that the Respect for Marriage Act has been passed, it means that the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA is now officially repealed. It was the bill that defined marriage as being only between a man and a woman, effectively barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage.

The codification of same-sex marriage is good news for immigration

Now that this bill is passed, the recognition of same-sex marriage by the federal government has been codified. This is an important fact for over a thousand government benefits, which include immigration services along with taxes and social programs.

However, one caveat to keep in mind is that this bill does not require states to issue a same-sex couple their marriage license. There are over 30 states that have a ban on same-sex marriage written into their laws. If Obergefell were struck down, same-sex couples who live in one of those states would have to travel in order to get their marriage license.

In light of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, lawmakers were concerned that the next casualty would be same-sex marriage. While the Respect for Marriage Act doesn’t guarantee that same-sex couples will be able to get their marriage license in any state, it does protect the validity of their union throughout the country.