The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on March 28 said it had temporarily suspended enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act as it applies to U.S. citizens' foreign same-sex spouses.
Then, two days later, the agency said the suspension was over and that it would continue to enforce DOMA against foreigners who seek a green card based on their legal marriage to an American of the same-sex.
Opposite-sex foreign spouses of U.S. citizens ordinarily qualify automatically for a green card, but DOMA prohibits the federal government from recognizing any married same-sex couples, including binational ones, as actually married.
The brief suspension followed the recent decision by the Justice Department and President Barack Obama to stop defending in court the portion of DOMA that prohibits the federal government from recognizing U.S. states' same-sex marriages.
On Feb. 23, Obama and Justice said that that portion of DOMA is unconstitutional and that any governmental discrimination based on sexual orientation, like discrimination based on race or religion, is automatically unconstitutional absent some important governmental need for treating gay people differently.
A CIS spokesman told the D.C. LGBT publication Metro Weekly that the hiccup in the agency's enforcement of DOMA had stemmed from a wait for "final guidance related to distinct legal issues."
Meanwhile, on March 22, in a case brought by gay immigration activist Lavi Soloway, an immigration judge in Manhattan adjourned deportation proceedings against the Argentine wife of an American woman because of the Justice Department's determination on DOMA's constitutionality.