Binational Miami couple Daniel and Yohandel receive green card
January 16, 2014
With such an amazing year of victories for the freedom to marry - from the recent court decision in Utah and Oklahoma to the marriage wins this fall in Illinois, Hawaii, and New Jersey - it's easy to forget about the huge, triumphant impact of the movement's previous wins for same-sex couples.
One of these wins that keeps on delivering is the June 2013 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the core of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, clearing the way for married same-sex couples to receive all of the protections and responsibilities that marriage triggers at the federal level. Among the protections triggered by that decision is the ability for an American to sponsor their foreign national spouse for a green card - and in the past few months, hundreds of binational couples have finally been able to receive green cards so that they never again have to be forced into time apart from the love of their life.
This week, Daniel Zavala finally was granted a green card, sponsored by his husband, Yohandel Ruiz. The men, who live in Miami, FL, married in Washington, D.C. on May 1, 2012, and in the past year and a half, they have worked hard to amplify the plight of married binational same-sex couples. Through their work with The DOMA Project, they spoke out about why deportations of married same-sex spouses must stop, and their story really resonated with readers and brought a face to the problem.
Daniel and Yohandel met in Miami Beach when Daniel was vacationing from Mexico and unexpectedly fell in love with Yohandel. After Daniel's trip was over, the men continued a long-distance relationship and explored ways to stay together in the United States - since, because of DOMA, Yohandel was not allowed to sponsor Daniel for immigration purposes. Now that the core of DOMA has been struck down, Daniel and Yohandel were able to apply for a green card and it's so heartening to see that their rights have finally been granted to them.
Watch a video from 2012 featuring Daniel and Yohandel talk about how DOMA harmed them - and let's thank them for all of their advocacy.