By Maria G. Valdez, Jul 01, 2013 04:37 PM EDT
(PHOTO CREDIT: The DOMA Project)
Julian Marsh and Traian Popov met in March 5, 2011 at a friend's home in Florida. A week later they ran into each other at another friend's house, and began dating shortly after. It was as if the universe was trying to put them together. "I met him, I fell in love, and that was it," says Julian.
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They married in Brooklyn, New York in October 2012, because of the connections both have had to New York City and because their home state of Florida does not permit same-sex couples to marry.
Traian ("Tray") Popov is originally from Bulgaria and has been a student in the United States since 1998. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Conflicts Analysis and Resolution. Julian Marsh is an internationally acclaimed DJ and music producer.
Julian and Traian are part of The DOMA Project, a campaign launched in October 2010 by a group of married binational couples, whose purpose is to stop the deportations, separations, and exile of gay and lesbian binational couples caused by the Defense of Marriage Act.
Julian, a U.S. citizen, filed an I-130 Petition for his husband on February 13th, 2013. Notification of the approval of his petition arrived by e-mail on Friday from USCIS within just two days of the Supreme Court ruling. His green card petition for his Bulgarian husband was approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at 3:45 p.m. EDT Friday afternoon June 28, which was also, coincidentally, Julian's birthday.
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that prohibited the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples for all purposes including immigration benefits, as a violation of the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The couple expressed their joy and gratitude through The DOMA Project's webpage. "We have love, joy and happiness in our lives. Thanks to the Supreme Court and President Obama we have an approved green card petition and we get to stay in our home and our country. If DOMA had not been struck down we were faced with no alternative but to leave our home and the country that we love so much. We feel extremely grateful and fortunate to have been given the greatest gift possible as we celebrate gay pride around the country. Today we rejoice. Next week we get back to work to defeat all the barriers to full equality," said Julian from his home in Florida.