One of the cruelest ways that our society—that our government—discriminates against same-sex couples is by deporting the spouses of gays and lesbians who fell in love with, and legally married (in states that have achieved marriage equality), foreign nationals.

A straight man can fly to Russia and marry someone he's never met in person and sponsor his mail-order bride for citizenship, no questions asked. (Well, not too many questions asked.) A gay man can meet a foreign national who is, say, studying in the United States, live with that person for eight years (undergrad, grad school), marry that person, create a life with that person, have children with that person, and watch helplessly as his spouse is deported because the federal government refused to recognize that these two men—two men who've built a life together—have any relationship to each other at all.

It looks like that may be coming to an end:

Following up on reports from this weekend, Metro Weekly just received confirmation from Christopher Bentley, the spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, that [the deportations] of foreign partners who are married to a same-sex partner and would otherwise be eligible for a green card are on hold in light of questions about the continued validity of the Defense of Marriage Act. Bentley writes, "USCIS has issued guidance to the field asking that related cases be held in abeyance while awaiting final guidance related to distinct legal issues."

I have to say that between DADT, DOMA, anti-bullying initiatives, and now this, the Obama administration has turned things around. Was it Rahm's departure? Was it the realization that gay issues have become a wedge that divides Republicans? Was it panic over the drop in gay donations to Dems during the mid-terms and the rise in the percentage of the gay vote going to Republicans? Whatever it was, whatever it is, I'll take it. Even if it is, as some have suggested, a cold political calculation and not true lurv, I'll take it. (Why wouldn't we want those cold political calculations to add up in our favor?) And this bit from the Metro Weekly's story is particularly gratifying:

Soloway noted when speaking about these issues previously that the administration "has twice dealt in a very special way with groups of individuals facing deportation." He explained, "They put a moratorium on the widows of U.S. citizens in 2009, and, in 2010, the administration announced it would defer action on the deportation of individuals who are likely eligible under the DREAM Act. So, the administration has shown that it does use its executive branch muscle when it comes to discretion about who to deport."

In 2009 I went apeshit when I read that the Obama administration had decided to stop deporting widows of U.S. citizens who hadn't been married long enough to qualify for residency, a.k.a. "the widow's penalty," despite the fact that the law required them to deport those widows. I didn't go apeshit because I wanted to see those widows deported, but because this was the same administration that was arguing that it had no choice but to continue discharging gay soldiers because the law required them to discharge those gay soldiers. When the head of homeland security came out and said that she was suspending enforcement of the widow's penalty while "Congress worked on a solution," I wanted to know why the hell the president do the same on DADT:

So the head of the Department of Homeland Security can suspend the enforcement of the Widow's Penalty in order to give Congress time to "fix the law," but Barack Obama—the President of the United States, Commander in Chief, Janet Napolitano's boss—he can't suspend enforcement of DADT to give Congress time to "fix the law." Is that it? Or is Obama administration only capable of recognizing an injustice and taking action when the lives of heterosexuals are being destroyed?

I was told at the time that I'm an idiot, that I just didn't understand thewaythingswork, that these were fundamentally different issues, that blah blah fuckadoodle blah. Well, gee. It turns out that I was right: the administration could apply the same standard—suspend enforcement while a solution was being worked on—to laws that were destroying the lives of gay people. But they wouldn't—then. Now they have.

Get ready to break out those checkbooks in advance of the 2012 presidential election, my fellow homos. This is the kind of change we were promised, the kind of change we weren't seeing for too long, and the kind of change that we should reward with our dollars and our votes. This doesn't mean the administration is without fault—ahem—or above criticism—AHEM—but this kind of progress has to be rewarded.