A lesbian couple in New Haven may be forced to separate or relocate due to federal government restrictions that refuse to recognize their marriage. According to the New Haven Independent, Francesca Martin and her wife, German native Gudrun Scheffler, have been together for the past 12 years. However, United States citizens in same-sex relationships cannot sponsor their spouses for a green card as their heterosexual counterparts can with a K-1 visa. The state of Connecticut – where the couple resides – recognizes gay marriage, yet Scheffler is still threatened with having to leave the United States when her work visa expires in September, reported the source.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed in 1996 and defines marriage as being only between a man and a woman, excluding the union of gay couples for consideration. After 16 years of discrimination under DOMA, same-sex couples like Martin and Scheffler may soon gain equality with legal policy change on the horizon. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has joined the likes of President Barack Obama and New York’s U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones in declaring DOMA to be unconstitutional and a violation of the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection to all citizens.
“Government has no business treating one group different than another and New York City will continue to stand against DOMA for such discrimination,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. At his LGBT Pride celebration, the mayor announced that the city plans to file its own brief against DOMA to protect the thousands of same-sex couples living in New York, reported the source.