Historically, the topics of same-sex marriage and immigration reform have been debated as separate political issues. Both issues, however, have impacted the lives of LGBTQ immigrants and their American partners. Presently in the United States, families that include same-sex binational couples are part of the increasingly diverse family landscape. Binational couples are defined here as same-sex partnerships in which one spouse or partner is an American citizen or resident and the other is a foreign national. For years, the ideological underpinnings inherent in immigration laws separated committed couples, forced couples into exile, and resulted in the deportation of partners/spouses of Americans under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This entry describes the sociocultural context in which binational couples are situated and the challenges they face today. In the following sections, the entry presents the demographics of binational families, the ways in which DOMA directly impacted immigration law and the lives of binational families, the positive ramifications DOMA’s repeal has had on binational families, and the challenges and obstacles binational families continue to face even after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state bans on same-sex marriage.
Domínguez, Daniela and Coppock, Jacqueline E., "Binational Same-Sex Couples and Families" (2016). Psychology. 60.