What the DOMA Ruling Means for Gay Binational Couples

After wrestling with the immigration system for 23 years, just like that, I have a clear path to citizenship, thanks to nine very human and very fallible Supreme Court justices.

By ruling DOMA’s section 3 unconstitutional, legal marriages of lesbians and gays in 12 states and the District of Columbia are now recognized by the federal government. My husband can finally petition for a green card for me, just like any other American citizen or permanent resident. I am relieved, grateful, and more optimistic than ever about my family’s future in the country we call home.

But this is just the beginning, and there are more hurdles to overcome. We have to convince the U.S. government that ours is a marriage of love and commitment, not convenience, in order to get a provisional green card. After a couple of years, I can apply for a permanent green card. Finally, after a couple more years, I can apply for citizenship. In short, I will finally be a U.S. citizen after having been here close to three decades.

More importantly, the fight for civil rights continues for the LGBT community and its allies. Gay women and men are denied the freedom to marry in most states. Legally married lesbian and gay couples living in states that do not recognize same-gender marriages will continue to be denied state privileges and benefits bestowed straight couples. We can still be fired for who we are in a majority of states. Queer people of color are kept at the social, economic, and political margins.

Let us pause to celebrate, but tomorrow let us gird ourselves for the struggle that lies ahead.

Originally published on Huffington Post Gay Voices.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation and the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation.

AboutErwin de Leon
Erwin de Leon is a Policy Researcher and writer based in Washington, DC. He writes on immigration, LGBT, and nonprofit issues. You can follow him on Twitter at @ErwindeLeon.