The Obama administration proposed on Tuesday to recognize same-sex couples as families on customs forms, a small but significant step, supporters said, toward equal recognition by the federal government.
The proposed rule change, which was posted to the Federal Register website, would expand the definition of a family for the purpose of customs forms for entering the United States. Under the current rule, same-sex partners must file separate forms rather than entering as a family, even if they are legally married. Heterosexual couples are only required to fill out one form.
The Defense of Marriage Act prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages authorized by individual states. But the proposed rule change does not address same-sex marriage specifically but rather broadens the definition of families generally. The definition would also be expanded to cover foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings and guardian situations.
The rule is also meant to cut down on paperwork during the inspection process as citizens and legal residents enter the country.
This is applicable to legal U.S. residents or citizens only. There’s no indication of this being applicable to citizens of other countries that recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions.