Marriage fraud is known by several other names that include marriage of convenience, fake marriage and sham marriage. In most cases, the reason for the marriage is to circumvent laws or public perception. More often than not, sham marriages are those undertaken by people wishing to gain entry to the U.S. and other countries, deceiving officials about the purpose of the marriage.
Often these types of marriages are arranged as a business transaction, solely to gain a better immigration status. The penalty in the U.S. for this type of situation/arrangement may be up to $250,000 and five years in prison.
Despite the marriage being a fake, it is usually still considered to be legally valid, if it complied with the legal requirements for marriage in the first place. In most instances, the couple will divorce once the marriage is no longer useful for them. Marriages entered into to avert suspicion of homosexuality are usually called lavender marriages, but have not been used much in the 21st century, due to society’s more accepting attitude towards gay/lesbian marriages.
States and entities that allows same sex marriage are:
District of Columbia (legal since 2009)
Coquille Indian Tribe (legal since 2009)
Suquamish Tribe (legal since 2011)
New York (legal since 2011)
Massachusetts (legal since 2004)
Connecticut (legal since 2008)
Iowa (legal since 2009)
Vermont (legal since 2009)
New Hampshire (legal since 2010)