DOMA challenges cross oceans



Republican House Speaker John Boehner has recently indicated his intent to challenge the Obama administration's February announcement of no longer defending Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The President's move on DOMA marked a significant step forward for LGBT rights in the United States.

The language in DOMA imposes restrictions on same sex couples regarding state-to-state recognition of marriage licenses, civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Other restrictions include the lack of recognition for bi-national gay couples who wish to live together in the United States.

For Colorado resident Inger Knudsen, this particular restriction hits especially close to home. Inger's partner, Phillipa, resides in the United Kingdom. Due to restrictions imposed by DOMA, Inger and Phillipa are unable to apply for any familial visa sponsorships.

"DOMA has been absolutely responsible for preventing sponsorship of my partner," Inger said in an interview Thursday with the Colorado Springs Independent. Inger also asserted that DOMA presents a blanket discrimination on gay and lesbian couples. Engaged bi-national heterosexual couples are able to apply for a green card until permanent residency is established using the I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) form.

Once applicants are residing together, however, they must complete the marriage process in 90 days. Other administrative restrictions could also apply, depending on the couples' particular situation. The current DOMA law however, would surely preclude any approval of this form for gay couples like Inger and Phillipa.

"Without federal recognition, we don't even have a shot at living together in this country," said Inger.

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