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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 8, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 14
National News
Section One
ALL STORIES
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National News

DOMA enforcement in green-card cases halted, restarted
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on March 28 said it had temporarily suspended enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act as it applies to U.S. citizens' foreign same-sex spouses.

Then, two days later, the agency said the suspension was over and that it would continue to enforce DOMA against foreigners who seek a green card based on their legal marriage to an American of the same-sex.

Opposite-sex foreign spouses of U.S. citizens ordinarily qualify automatically for a green card, but DOMA prohibits the federal government from recognizing any married same-sex couples, including binational ones, as actually married.

The brief suspension followed the recent decision by the Justice Department and President Barack Obama to stop defending in court the portion of DOMA that prohibits the federal government from recognizing U.S. states' same-sex marriages.

On February 23, Obama and Justice said that that portion of DOMA is unconstitutional and that any governmental discrimination based on sexual orientation, like discrimination based on race or religion, is automatically unconstitutional absent some important governmental need for treating Gay people differently.

A CIS spokesman told the D.C. LGBT publication Metro Weekly that the hiccup in the agency's enforcement of DOMA had stemmed from a wait for 'final guidance related to distinct legal issues.'

Meanwhile, on March 22, in a case brought by Gay immigration activist Lavi Soloway, an immigration judge in Manhattan adjourned deportation proceedings against the Argentine wife of an American woman because of the Justice Department's determination on DOMA's constitutionality.

Indiana aims to ban same-sex marriage in constitution
Indiana's Senate voted 40-10 on March 29 to send voters a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions.

The measure previously passed the House of Representatives, but would need to pass both chambers again before it could appear on the ballot in three years' time.

Indiana law already bans Gay couples from marrying, but some legislators want to create a stronger ban that would be harder to undo.

Similar constitutional amendments are in place in 30 states. At the same time, same-sex couples can marry in five states - Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont - and Washington, D.C. Five other states recognize same-sex marriages from anywhere in the world as marriages, even though same-sex couples cannot marry in those states: Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and California (if the marriage took place before Proposition 8 passed).

Montana Gay-sex ban lives on
Montana's House of Representatives on March 29 failed to muster enough votes to force out of committee a bill that would have decriminalized Gay sex by redefining 'deviate sexual relations.'

The committee had refused to act on the bill, which already had passed the full Senate.

The state Supreme Court struck down the deviate-sexual-conduct law in 1997, saying, 'Having concluded that [the law] constitutes a governmental intrusion into Respondents' right to privacy, guaranteed by Article II, Section 10 of Montana's Constitution, and finding no compelling state interest for such an intrusion, we hold that [the law] is unconstitutional as applied to Respondents and other consenting adults engaging in private, same-gender, non-commercial, sexual conduct.'

Later, in 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively struck down all Gay sex bans remaining in the U.S.

Opponents of repealing the Montana law claimed it still could be useful in situations that involve Gay sex that is nonconsensual, incestuous, in public, with minors or for pay.

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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