Joseph & Hall Applauds the Passage of the Respect for Marriage Act

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Joseph & Hall Applauds the Passage of the Respect for Marriage Act

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On December 13, 2022, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), which formally repealed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and required the recognition of same-sex and interracial marriages in the United States.  The RFMA further solidifies the ability to marry the person you choose and enjoy the legal protections and benefits of marriage—including the ability to file immigration applications based on the marriage.

DOMA, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, had been rendered unenforceable by Supreme Court decisions in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges. However, the future of same-sex marriage, and interracial marriage, was called into question with the reasoning in the 2022 Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which rejected the same “right to privacy” reasoning that undergirded the Court’s opinions in Loving v. Virginia, Windsor and Obergefell and included a concurring opinion from Justice Thomas explicitly calling for the Court to reconsider its Obergefell decision.

With the newly uneasy ground by which the Supreme Court decisions protected interracial and same-sex marriage rights, the RFMA quickly gained traction in Congress in 2022 and based both the House and Senate with bipartisan support.

Even before Windsor and Obergefell, Joseph & Hall proudly represented same-sex couples in their immigration matters including in challenges to DOMA. Joseph & Hall commends Congress for codifying the marriage rights of same-sex and interracial couples through the Respect for Marriage Act and looks forward to continuing to aggressively represent immigrants of all sexualities and identities in their immigration matters before USCIS, the Department of State, and in court.

If you have any questions about the Respect for Marriage Act or immigration benefits for LGBTQI+ individuals, contact our office to speak with one of our attorneys.

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