The article was first published in The Times of Israel.
Lawyer Lavi Soloway, center, and his husband, Sebastian Dungan, share a daughter who will soon turn 6. (Albane Navizet)
Immigration attorney Lavi Soloway knows exactly where he’ll be Wednesday morning: standing in line outside the US Supreme Court, hoping to hear a case that could completely change the lives of his clients.
For 20 years, Soloway has fought tenaciously for marriage equality and the rights of LGBT immigrants, and currently represents 70 affected couples.
Since 1996, his clients’ main obstacle has been the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman. The law, which President Bill Clinton signed and now opposes, deprives protections to all gay and lesbian couples, but is particularly problematic for bi-national couples, who can be more easily torn apart because of US immigration policy. The law is one of two potentially landmark cases involving gay marriage before the Supreme Court this week. Arguments on the other case begin Tuesday.
“It’s been a gradual process, with many years when there was no progress to point to,” Soloway told The Times of Israel about his slow-going, uphill battle.
But in the past three years, momentum has been building in his clients’ favor.
“Apprehension and pessimism have given way to an avalanche of real, palpable change,” he said, referring to Americans’ rapidly changing attitudes toward gay marriage. A survey by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that American Jewsin particular are in favor of gay marriage, at a rate far greater than other religious groups.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.