The U.S. government will no longer automatically deny applications for immigration benefits for same-sex couples, opting to put them on hold until it gets some legal advice on the Obama administration’s decision to stop defending the law that prohibits gay marriage
The decision to put off deciding the fate of applications for immigration benefits from gays and lesbians married to U.S. citizens is not a change in policy, said Chris Bentley, a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Until USCIS announced the temporary change, applications for immigration benefits for foreign nationals married to a U.S. citizen of the same gender were automatically denied because the Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.
In February, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would no longer defend the constitutionality of the law. Now, USCIS is awaiting legal direction from the Department of Homeland Security on how to handle applications for benefits from gay couples.