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Due to difficulties obtaining visas for foreign-born same-sex partners, many gay couples are opting to leave the United States.
Despite the recent passage of marriage equality laws in some states, the persistence of the Defense of Marriage Act prevents same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits as heterosexual couples. One major benefit is an expedited immigration process. Individuals are able to receive resident visas and green cards, if not citizenship, “with relative ease,” the New York Times reports.
Same-sex couples are deciding to leave for foreign soil rather than face long-term separation.
Cara Jobson, an immigration lawyer in San Francisco, expressed her frustrations with the discrepancies in the options available for same-sex couples as opposed to those for heterosexual couples in the immigration process, The World reports.
“It’s a daily stark contrast,” Jobson said. “When someone comes into our office with a same sex partner and they want to file for a green card for that person we have to tell them no that they can’t. When an opposite sex couple comes in and a U.S. citizen wants to file for their spouse we file and we have the green card in about three months.”
Supporters of marriage equality hold on to the hope that this last frontier of discrimination is coming to a close, especially as DOMA lost a great deal of credibility when President Barack Obama openly refused to defend it.