Instead, it hit after she talked to her attorney, and found out that the court’s decision will allow her Polish wife, Kasia Kurzatkowska, to apply for a green card, putting an end to a heart-wrenching seven years in which the two have been periodically separated by immigration laws.
“When we sat with our attorney, it became real,” said Kirkbride, 40, of Walnut Creek, Calif. “Waiting for this decision was like waiting to find out if you are pregnant – your whole life can change if you are. Now, we can have a future and buy a house, and have a child.”
Kirkbride and Kurzatkowska are among an estimated 26,000 same-sex couples in the U.S. with one partner who is not a U.S. citizen. Under the law, a subset of these couples – those who are married or considering marriage – had been prevented from applying for green cards for their spouses or fiances.
In the last decade, some of those non-citizens have been deported, even though they were legally married. Many others have been in a legal limbo, with one partner living undocumented in the United States. Some couples have left the country entirely to be somewhere they can both work and live legally.
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