A lesbian couple from Boulder, Colo., was awarded a green card by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services July 3, according to The DOMA Project. The couple is one of the first in the nation to receive a marriage-based green card since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) June 26. The court determine that the federal government must recognize legally married same-sex couples for any and all purposes including immigration benefits.
Cathy Davis is a citizen of Ireland and married Catriona Dowling last year in Iowa. The DOMA Project said the couple, who is raising three children, were at risk of being torn apart due to the laws denying same-sex, bi-national couples the same rights as straight couples. Davis had previously been issued a work visa by a San Antonio, Texas, hospital. However, when the hospital applied for an extension of Davis’ work visa, the Immigration Service denied the request.
“At 10:55 a.m. we were called to the window,” Dowling told The DOMA Project. “The officer at the other side of the window began to log our information into the computer when another officer appeared, introducing herself as the Supervisor, and declared that ‘as of one minute ago’ Cathy’s green card had been approved. The time was 11:00 a.m. I immediately yelled out and began to cry, Cathy was more stunned with the news and quiet for that moment, which led the Supervisor to assume that I was the immigrant spouse. She explained that production of the green card had been ordered and it would soon arrive by mail; she also explained that Cathy could apply for American citizenship in three years, on July 3, 2016.”
The DOMA Project said Davis is the first same-sex spouse in America to receive a green card. The couple’s lawyer, Lavi Soloway, said the issuing of the green card is the U.S. government recognizing the “inherent dignity” of the family, according to The Denver Post.