A green card application from a married gay couple has been approved for the first time by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, a group advocating against deportations of gay binational couples announced on Saturday.
According to DOMA Project, Julian Marsh and Traian Povov received notice on their application two days after the Supreme Court ruled to strike down the Defense Of Marriage Act, the federal law that barred the government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states. Marsh, a U.S. citizen, had applied for the green card for Popov, who is Bulgarian, ahead of the court's ruling.
“The approval of this petition demonstrates that the Obama administration’s commitment to recognizing same-sex couples’ marriages after the Supreme Court ruling is now a reality on the ground," the couple's lawyer told BuzzFeed. "We expect additional approvals of green card applications and petitions in the coming days."
The ability to apply for and receive green cards is one of the more immediate effects of the court's ruling for LGBT couples. The Huffington Post's Elise Foley reported:
Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling doesn't entirely fix the problem -- couples must be married rather than partners, and must travel to a state that allows same-sex marriage if they don't live in one -- but it's still a major victory for LGBT rights.
Some of those binational couples have lived apart for months or even years because the foreign-born spouse can't legally remain in the country. Others must worry about whether they will lose their job and work visa, then be separated. Still others stay in the U.S. without legal status and risk deportation to be with their spouse. Some Americans just leave the country entirely when their partner cannot stay.
The Florida couple isn't the first to be impacted by the court's ruling. On Wednesday, a New York City judge halted the deportation of a gay Colombian man married to a U.S. citizen. According to BuzzFeed, the judge took action just minutes after the court handed down its decision.
This post has been updated to include more information about the couple.
CORRECTION:An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Marsh's last name.