Traian Popov, a Bulgarian immigrant who lives with his same-sex spouse in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, became the first same-sex partner to receive a permanent resident card following the Supreme Court's finding DOMA unconstitutional. Based on recent published policy statements, it seems clear that both DHS and the Department of State (DOS) are going to treat gay marriage equally with heterosexual marriage for sponsorship and derivative immigration benefits (immigrant and nonimmigrant) if the marriage is valid in the state where it was entered into (just as heterosexual marriage). What remains unclear is what happens if the couple is currently living in the United States and in a state that has articulated a fundamental public policy against gay marriage. According to a recent Q&A on this topic on the DHS website, same sex spouses who were married in a state that recognizes the marriage, but who currently reside in a state that does not, can still file a petition for immigration benefits:

"Yes, you can file the petition. In evaluating the petition, as a general matter, USCIS looks to the law of the place where the marriage took place when determining whether it is valid for immigration law purposes. That general rule is subject to some limited exceptions under which federal immigration agencies historically have considered the law of the state of residence in addition to the law of the state of celebration of the marriage. Whether those exceptions apply may depend on individual, fact-specific circumstances. If necessary, we may provide further guidance on this question going forward."

The full statement from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano regarding the "Implementation of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act" is available at and the Press Statement from Secretary of State John Kerry is available at