Despite the fact that several US states recognize same-sex marriages and civil unions, US immigration authorities are barred from granting permanent residency status to partners of US citizens and permanent residents. The reason for this is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed in 1996 that bars federal agencies from conferring any recognition to same sex marriages.

For several years, Congressman Gerald Nadler has pushed for a bill making an exception to DOMA for immigration cases. Now his Senate colleague Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is pushing for such a change as well. And since Leahy is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of the most powerful legislators in Washington, the prospects for the bill have improved significantly. It also seems likely that President Obama would support some type of legislation since he is on record supporting recognizing same-sex civil unions.

Stay tuned.