For ‘Green Card Marriage’ Gays, Overturning of DOMA Bittersweet

To some, American citizenship is worth its weight in gold, and many are willing to enter into a fraudulent marriage to get it.

It’s nothing new — an American citizen agreeing to marry an immigrant so they can get a green card. However, for gay immigrants in fraudulent heterosexual marriages, the overturning of part of the Defense of Marriage Act was a light at the end of the tunnel as well as a new set of problems.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, up to 30 percent of marriages between citizens and immigrants are “green card marriages.” (

Francisco Silva* was born and raised in Brazil, living a gay life under the radar, and in order to stay in the U.S married a woman – until she filed for divorce this year. His reasons for taking the risk of deportation – and five years imprisonment and $250,000 fine for her – was because he was free to live openly here with his partner.

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