Senators demand hold on deportation of same-sex partners until Supreme Court ruling

“We urge DHS to hold marriage-based immigration petitions in abeyance until the Supreme Court issues its ruling on same-sex marriage. Holding these cases in abeyance for a few months will prevent hardship to LGBT immigrant families,” the senators wrote. 

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“We also call upon the Department of Justice to institute a moratorium on orders of removal issued by the immigration courts to married foreign nationals who would be otherwise eligible to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident but for DOMA. By taking these interim steps, vulnerable families affected by DOMA can remain together until the Supreme Court issues its decision.”

Under DOMA, federal immigration benefits do not extend to same-sex couples. First and 2nd circuit federal appeals courts have deemed DOMA unconstitutional — the Supreme Court will take the issue up later this year.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) all signed the letter, adding that DOMA is a form of discrimination that creates a “tier of second-class families.”

“The Supreme Court will soon have its voice heard on this discriminatory policy that has already been deemed unconstitutional by two federal courts,” Gillibrand said in a statement Thursday. “In light of those earlier decisions, we must lift the hardship for LGBT families who live in fear of separation based on this antiquated law until the Supreme Court rules. Regardless of the court’s ultimate decision, it is well past time for Congress to recognize the marriages of all loving and committed couples and finally put the discriminatory DOMA policy into the dustbin of history.”

President Obama's administration has come out against DOMA, but many Republicans still support the law, which says marriage is between a man and a woman.

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