A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a married binational gay couple in California who were denied a marriage-based green card by immigration officials.
Handi Lui, a citizen of Indonesia who in 2009 married his American spouse, Michael Ernest Roberts, in Massachusetts, sued the government after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, denied the couple’s marriage-based petition for permanent residency (the Board of Immigration Appeals later upheld that decision). In the lawsuit Lui argued that in doing so, USCIS violated the Immigration and Nationality Act’s provisions banning sex discrimination. Furthermore, Lui argued, immigration officials’ interpretation of the Defense of Marriage Act in denying the green card petition was unconstitutional.
A House Republican–led advisory group currently defending DOMA in multiple legal challenges had moved to dismiss Lui’s complaint. And in a five-page order issued Wednesday, U.S. district judge Stephen V. Wilson did so, writing that immigration officials did not err in their decision and that the court is bound by a 1982 case involving a Colorado gay male couple denied immigration sponsorship rights (in the rejection of the couple’s petition decades ago, officials wrote that their attorney had “failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two f***ots”).