A gay Fort Lauderdale married man has become the first person in a same-sex marriage to be approved for a green card.
Traian Popov, a Bulgarian immigrant who is married to an American citizen, received the notice of his green card approval via email on Friday, just days after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, which had prevented federal marriage benefits from being extended to gay couples.
Boom goes the dynamite!
Popov lives with his husband, Julian Marsh, in Fort Lauderdale. The two were married in New York last year.
Popov, 41, had been living legally in the U.S. for 15 years with a series of student visas, and is currently working on a doctorate in social science at Nova.
United States Immigration and Citizenship Services has said that it would announce new procedures this week for same-sex binational couples looking to get their green cards. They also say they've been holding applications for the past two years as they waited for the Supreme Court to hand down their ruling on DOMA.
The green card notices and approvals for gay couples were to go out this week, but Popov received his days in advance.
Speaking by telephone on Sunday from the couple's home, Mr. Marsh said that he turned 55 on Friday and that he and Mr. Popov were celebrating with dinner at a Red Lobster restaurant when they received news of the unprecedented green card.
"It was just kind of a shock, like winning the lottery," said Mr. Marsh, a music producer. "The amazing overwhelming fact is that the government said yes, and my husband and I can live in the country we chose and we love and want to stay in."
Now that they're recognized as a married couple by Uncle Sam, and Popov has his green card, he and Marsh are planning to bring the same-sex marriage fight to Florida.
"We are first-class citizens in New York and in the eyes of the federal government, but second-class citizens in Florida," Marsh said. "We won't stand for that."
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