The fight for gay marriage rights isn’t one that just deals with the act of getting married. It deals with all of its implications. Sometimes, it is easy to forget that immigration status can be on the line.
The Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted in 1996, is a law that prevents federal law and government programs from allowing same-sex couples to be a recognized as married. Marrying a U.S. citizen provides a quick path to permanent residency and eventual citizenship.
But of course, this is not an option for same-sex couples. Living in fear of being deported and separated from a significant other at any moment is difficult. Many couples have been separated in the past and continue to plagued with this problem, so advocates have been in a constant fight for change.
Once it was announced, Deferred Action, DACA, became the only program that can offer help for those in this situation. Obama’s new policy applies to undocumented youth who came to the United States before the age of 16 and who were under the age of 31 before the announcement of the program on June 15, 2012.
What DACA does is it stops someone from being deported for a period of two years, which can be renewed. It also allows him or her to obtain a work authorization, and it provides driver’s licenses.