Fong & Aquino has a very long history of serving the gay and lesbian community, and communities with non-traditional family structures. At our offices in Los Angeles and in Palm Springs, we are constantly asked about whether the US citizen in a married, same-sex couple can petition the alien spouse. Alas, as of today, the answer is still NO, based on the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which is still the law of the land.
The good news is that the Judiciary Committee of the US Senate today began a debate that is a first step in an attempt to repeal DOMA. After today’s hearings, many people with experience on Capitol Hill believe the votes are there on the committee to send the bill to overturn DOMA to the Senate floor. However, in the Senate, there must be 60 senators — the so-called “supermajority” — willing to bring the question to the floor, before the measure can actually be voted on. Finally, if it passes the Senate, most experts feel the measure would die a quiet death on a committee in the House of Representatives.
There is movement in the Congress. It is important for all those for whom this is an important issue — for their own families, for their friends, or for a fundamental fairness principle — to contact their US Senators and Representatives to voice their support for the repeal of DOMA! –jcf