The DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) had long limited same-sex couples from the title of “spouse” for federal and legal purposes in the United States. This also restricted same-sex couples from obtaining federal marital benefits. On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court ruled the act unconstitutional. The DOMA repeal opened up immigration rights to binational same-sex couples. One of the first couples to proceed through the process is American Alan Alberto and Croatian national Davor Cakaric. The story of the couple appeared in the Providence Journal, which relayed the difficulties in achieving legal status for Cakaric. Luckily the DOMA invalidation came in perfect timing, allowing the couple to stay together in the United States.

How Everything Started:

Alberto and Cakaric had met at the Croatia National Theatre in Splît. Cakaric was a dancer for the Croatia National Theatre for 10 years. Alberto had trained at the Harid Conservatory and Vaganova Ballet Academy. He also danced for the Nashville Ballet and in New York before entering the Croatia National Theatre in 2010. The couple started dating that November.

After much LGBT disapproval from the Croatian environment and complications with the theater’s director, the couple decided to leave the Croatia National Theatre and come to the United States. Alberto had received a position from Festival Ballet Providence and Cakaric was able to come to the United States on a tourist visa.

Deciding on Immigration Options:

The couple knew they were serious about each other and wanted to stay together. The couple began thinking of the various options available for Cakaric to stay in the country, but marriage was what they really wanted. Since Rhode Island had not yet granted same-sex marriage, the couple decided to marry in Massachusetts. The couple had then applied for the spousal petition in an effort for Cakaric to receive permanent residency, but with the DOMA, the petition was denied.

DOMA Invalidation:

However, shortly after initial denial, the DOMA had been made invalidated by the Supreme Court. All holdings on their case were removed and the couple was able to move forward with the permanent residency process.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administered Alberto and Cakaric an interview on July 10. After being approved, Cakaric was accepted for residency 9 days later.

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court has provided a new path to the US Permanent Residency (Green Card) for gay couples where one of the partners is a foreign national.