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Why DOMA's death has already saved one gay couple from being forced apart

A bi-national couple was saved minutes after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay rights
The first gay couple to benefit from the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Prop 8.
Photo by Lavi Soloway/Facebook.

LGBT people around the US are celebrating the Supreme Court ruling in favor of equality.

With the SCOTUS saying California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, thousands of lives have been made more equal.

But for two people in particular, Steven and Sean Brooks, they are perhaps the first in the entire of the US to benefit from the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Before today, it looked like a Colombian gay man who wed his American partner in 2011 would be deported from the country.

At the time, Brooks said: 'I am no stranger to injustice. I am black, gay, I came of age at a time when de-segregation had been fought for, and though not complete, had started changing society.

'Living through this upheaval and becoming well-adjusted as a double minority is not the sum total of my experience.

'Coming to terms with being black and gay, I found myself in my fifth decade of life contending with a new identity as half of a binational gay couple.'

Lavi Soloway, a partner in the law firm Masiliah & Soloway, claims: ‘A copy of the 77-page Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor was delivered to the court by our summer intern, Gabe, who ran five blocks and made it in time for the decision to be submitted to the Immigration Judge and to serve a copy on the Immigration & Customs Enforcement Assistant Chief Counsel.

‘DOMA is DEAD and it had its first impact on a bi-national couple within 30 minutes of the Supreme Court ruling.’

The court ruled in a 5-4 decision it is unconstitutional to restrict federal marriage benefits for same-sex couples.

‘DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment,’ wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy. ‘The federal statute is invalid.’

Under existing law, US citizens in straight marriages could sponsor their immigrant husband or wife to come to the US or remain with legal authorization.

But same-sex couples have been excluded and countless partnerships have been thrown into limbo. 

But now, the court’s DOMA decision means marriages performed in one of the 12 states that recognize same-sex unions will be considered valid for federal benefits, even if couples reside in another state.

President Barack Obama, who supported the overturning of Prop 8 and DOMA, said: ‘Today’s DOMA ruling is a historic step forward for #MarriageEquality. #LoveIsLove’

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