Two months ago, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was pressured to withdraw an amendment from a Senate immigration bill that would have allowed U.S. citizens to apply for green cards for their same-sex partners. He did so, he said, with a heavy heart, acknowledging that such a concession was necessary to prevent Republicans lawmakers from derailing the bill.
Now, it turns out that provision is unnecessary in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the part of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied same-sex couples a range of federal benefits and protections.
The high court’s ruling means that U.S. citizens will be able to request visas and green cards for their same-sex spouses.
And it also means that immigration judges will be able, for the first time, to consider a reprieve for some immigrants whose deportation would result in exceptional hardship to their same-sex citizen spouse.