Integrity Legal

26th May 2009

The American State Department, as of May 24th, has begun offering benefits to same sex partners of American diplomats and State Department employees. This comes after many years of the US State Department refusing to grant benefits to same sex partners and spouses. The justification that the state department previously used was based upon the Defense of Marriage Act. State Department officials often sighted DOMA claiming that it precluded allowing benefits for same sex partners.

The current move made by the State Department signals a major shift in state department policy on the issue of same sex domestic issues. Of great import is the fact that among other benefits, same sex partners will be issued diplomatic passports along with their diplomat partner or spouse.

In a State Department memo circulated pursuant to this regulatory change Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton hinted that this change was overdue. Secretary Clinton stated, “At bottom, the department will provide these benefits for both opposite-sex and same-sex partners because it is the right thing to do,”

This begs the question that if, at bottom, these benefits ought to be conferred because “it is the right thing to do,” then isn’t granting same sex couple’s US Family Immigration benefits the right thing to do as well? The Uniting of American Families Act is a piece of legislation that would allow US citizens to obtain US visas for their alien same sex partner.

In this situation, the US State Department has disregarded the spirit of the Defense of Marriage Act by conferring these benefits upon same sex partners and will likely prevail in doing so because offering these benefits is a prerogative of the Secretary of State and under the bailiwick of the executive branch of the United States government (Under the doctrine of Separation of Powers, there are certain areas in which each branch of government cannot be challenged by another branch).

The UAFA also subtly avoids the restrictions imposed by the Defense of Marriage Act by creating a new category of US Visa under the United States Immigration an Nationality Act. This new visa category would allow an alien to obtain a US visa based upon family relationship if the meet the definition of “permanent partner.”

As we have previously stated on this blog, the US Immigration implictions of the enactment of the Uniting of American Families Act would be a watershed for Same Sex immigration rights as well as a very interesting case study in conflict of laws.

For more information on US Immigration from Thailand Please see:

K1 Visa Thailand

Fiance Visa Thailand

K3 Visa Thailand

(Please note that the information contained herein is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. No lawyer client relationship is formed between author and reader).

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