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Washington state. Same-sex couples
who reside in Washington, but who
have entered into a legal union other
than marriage (such as a domestic
partnership or civil union) outside of
Washington, will not have their status
automatically converted to marriage on
June 30. Washington state will recognize a legal union other than marriage
that is entered in another jurisdiction
and treat it as a marriage, as long as
the union provides “substantially” the
same rights, benefits, and responsibilities as marriage and is not prohibited
by kinship or marital status. 12 However, if a couple with a domestic partnership or civil union from another state
moves to Washington, the couple must
get married in Washington within one
year of becoming residents of the state
if they wish to continue having the
rights of marriage.
The Alien Spouse
Nearly all avenues of immigration to
the United States include options for
married spouses, but there are very
few avenues for domestic partners or
members of civil unions. A U.S. citizen
or lawful permanent resident (LPR)
may petition for permanent residence
for their alien spouse. An alien wishing to study in the U.S. on an F- 1 visa
may obtain an F- 2 visa for his or her
spouse. An alien working in Washington on an H-1B visa may bring their
spouse to the state on an H- 4 visa.
Spouses of refugees and those granted
asylum can receive derivative refugee
status or asylum as long as the marriage took place prior to the grant of
refugee or asylum status.
U. S. immigration law defines spouse,
but does not specifically address same-sex marriage. Marriages will be considered valid for the purposes of U.S. immigration law if the marriage complies
with the laws in the jurisdiction where
the marriage ceremony has taken
place, as long as any prior marriages
have been terminated. Spouses must be
physically present during the marriage
ceremony, unless the marriage was
consummated. 13 Marriages that would
be void under state law as contrary to
public policy, or that are not recognized
by federal law, will not be considered
valid for immigration purposes. 14 The
place of marriage, the date of marriage,
and the manner in which a couple is
married impacts how a couple is treated
under U. S. immigration law.
LGBT Aliens and Same-Sex
The treatment of LGBT aliens in U.S.
immigration law has evolved over
time. For several centuries, gay and
lesbian aliens were prevented from
immigrating to the United States. Im-
migration law barred LGBT aliens on
health grounds, stating that they were
afflicted with psychopathic personal-
ity, sexual deviation or mental defect,
including homosexuality. 15 The U.S.
law excluding “sexual deviants or
psychopathic personalities” was not
formally repealed until 1990.16 The
U.S. banned aliens with HIV from im-
migrating to this country until 2009.17
Decades before DOMA was enact-