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Gay marriages fueling Palm Springs boom

PALM SPRINGS, California -- Ray Hatfield and Don Watkins’ engagement is no different than any other multinational couple who plan to wed in the United States. Hatfield is Australian and Watkins is American. They plan to wed in Palm Springs in September.

Though until a year ago when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and allowed gay marriage to resume in California, Hatfield could not have secured a fiancé visa from the Department of Homeland Security.

“There’s no discrimination anymore. Now, we can apply for the same kind of visa,” said Hatfield, 60, seated on his fiancé’s sofa in Rancho Mirage. He and Watkins, 63, arrived in Palm Springs on July 4.

A fiancé visa clears the way for citizens from other countries to easily come into the United States to marry U.S. citizens, within 90 days of stepping onto U.S. soil. Hatfield and Watkins used an immigration lawyer to navigate the process which required a written application, followed by an interview at the United States Embassy in Sydney.

Source: The Desert Sun