BALTIMORE, July 27, 2012 - Last week, Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case involving Samuel Wu and Rudy Lawidjaja, a married binational gay couple from Montgomery County, Maryland.
The friend-of-the-court brief argues that immigration officials should stop denying immigration protection to same-sex couples based on the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The brief also makes clear that, absent DOMA, there is no legal impediment to extending immigration protections to Mr. Lawidjaja and similarly situated same-sex spouses.
"The Obama Administration and numerous federal court rulings have already found that DOMA is unconstitutional. Immigration officials should stop using the dying law to deny immigration protections to Mr. Lawidjaja and other same-sex spouses," said Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney. "Immigration officials cannot insulate themselves from significant legal developments in this country. The Board of Immigration Appeals should do what other immigration courts have already done - put immigration proceedings on hold until the dispute over DOMA is resolved."
Samuel Wu, a U.S. citizen, and his husband Rudy Lawidjaja, an immigrant from Indonesia, have been together since January 2001 and they have been living together for over ten years in Gaithersburg, Maryland. On September 14, 2009, Mr. Wu married Mr. Lawidjaja in Greenwich, Connecticut. This marriage is lawful under Connecticut state law and recognized by the state of Maryland. In April 2011, Mr. Wu filed a petition requesting that Mr. Lawidjaja be classified as the spouse of a U.S. citizen. Although Mr. Ladwidjaja is legally married to Mr. Wu, immigration officials denied the petition on June 14, 2012.
In the brief filed today, Lambda Legal urges immigration officials to administratively close or postpone all pending immigration matters involving married same-sex couples until DOMA is repealed or declared unconstitutional.
The Matter of Lawidjaja is being handled by Gabriel Vine, Esq. of Vine Law Firm LLC. Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Staff Attorney, is handling this matter for Lambda Legal.
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