Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Adams v. Howerton case brief

Adams v. Howerton case brief summary
673 F.2d 1036 (1982)

Appellants, a male American citizen and a male alien, sought review of a judgment of the United States District Court for the Central District of California granting appellee, the Acting District Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, summary judgment. Appellants and appellee had entered cross-motions for summary judgment following appellants' challenge of a denial of their petition for immediate relative classification.

Appellants, a male American citizen and a male alien, petitioned the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for classification of appellant male alien as an immediate relative of an American citizen, based upon appellant male alien's alleged status as the spouse of appellant male American citizen. Their petition was denied and that denial was affirmed.


  • On further appeal to the present court, the denial of the petition was affirmed. 
  • The court found that a two-step analysis was necessary to determine if appellants' marriage would be recognized for immigration purposes. 
  • The first step asked whether the marriage was valid under state law, and, second, whether that marriage qualified under § 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended, 8 U.S.C.S. § 1151(b). 
  • The court, deciding the case solely upon construction of this section, found that Congress intended that only partners in heterosexual marriages were to be considered spouses under § 201. 
  • Because Congress had a rational basis for its denial to spouses of homosexual marriages the preferences accorded to spouses of heterosexual marriages, the act was not unconstitutional.

The judgment was affirmed.

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