As a Miami immigration attorney, I was especially pleased about this week’s announcement that same-sex marriages could begin in Florida after January 5th, 2015. The announcement followed after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined on Wednesday to further stay a lower court ruling that overturned the state’s ban on gay weddings.
The appellate court ruling permits same-sex couples to tie the knot when the stay expires after Jan. 5. Pam Bondi, Attorney General for the state of Florida, could seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, however the high court is unlikely to grant the stay. The U.S. Supreme Court has already denied similar requests for stay extensions in South Carolina, Alaska, Idaho, and Kansas.
Assuming that the U.S. Supreme Court does not intervene to grant the stay, same-sex marriages can now commence in the state of Florida after January 5th, 2014. As you may know, the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) meant that a same-sex marriage between a citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident and a non-citizen valid in the state where the marriage took place is sufficient to confer immigration benefits. The repeal of DOMA also allows same-sex couples to access more than 1,000 federal programs and benefits available to opposite-sex couples.
For immigrants who are currently in unhappy marriages to a member of the opposite sex, this news also comes as a welcome relief. An immigrant will not have to remain in an unworkable marriage, and will soon be allowed to marry a partner of his/her choice after January 5th, 2015.
I am a long-time champion for the rights of LGBT couples to marry in the state of Florida, so it goes without saying that I feel tremendously uplifted by this announcement.
If you would like more information on gay marriage in the state of Florida and the green card process, please contact Miami immigration attorney Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305)895-2500 or visit our website at www. mmurraylaw.com