Confusion about visas for same-sex couples

Immigration authorities on Monday hinted that decisions on immigration cases involving same-sex couples would be postponed. But today, a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) told reporters that after a legal review by Department of Homeland Security attorneys, it was concluded that the law prohibiting the government from recognizing same-sex marriages must be complied with.

The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Therefore, applications for immigration benefits from same-sex couples will again be denied.

While immigration law allows foreign spouses of U.S. citizens in heterosexual partnerships to obtain permanent residency, the Defense of Marriage Act prohibits granting the same benefit to immigrants in same-sex marriages.

Last February, President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the administration will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.