Now, onto a case close to my heart, that of immigration. Immigration seems to be very much at the fore front of US politics at the moment, but the issue of LGBT couples and immigration is never really openly discussed. Sure, there are a few cases that have hit the news recently, but the law as it relates to immigration is one of the darker sides to the Defence of Marriage Act.
When I first came to the US I was here on an L1 visa sponsored through my employer, Lucent Technologies/AT&T. That allowed me to be here indefinitely as long I was employed doing the job that I was doing, a high level and high-profile job within their education and training organisation. I also applied for a green card at the same time, only too aware that if my job ended so would my ability to stay in the country. I received my green card 18 months after I arrived, almost a record.
Once I met James it quickly became apparent that because our relationship had no legal standing, especially with regard to immigration, I was not as safe as other heterosexual couples. Heterosexual couples immediately obtain immigration status for their partners when they marry. Because I was not allowed to marry James I was denied that equality. Since becoming a US citizen the issue is now moot from a personal perspective, but still highlights the issue that many other couples face.
These lawsuits directly challenge the fact that people who are now legally married in certain states are still denied immigration rights due to DOMA. There are, as you will see, many cases proceeding through the courts that challenge DOMA in different ways. I have no idea how this will play out but it is crucial that equality is extended in all areas and to all people. Time will tell how this resolves itself.