New York immigration judge halts deportation of married gay man

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 15:02 EDT
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A New York immigration judge halted the deportation of an American citizen’s Colombian husband on Wednesday just moments after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), according to an activist group aiding the couple’s legal defense.

Sean Brooks, 45, described his ordeal in December 2011 with a blog post for The DOMA Project, which supports LGBT binational couples. Brooks’ husband Steven came to the U.S. with his family as a child, and after the two married in New York state Brooks filed a green card petition to help Steven become a permanent resident on the path to citizenship.

That green card petition caused a problem with his visa status and suddenly, Steven was facing deportation. When he asked the court to cancel the deportation due to the likely hardship his husband would face, the appeal was denied on the grounds that federal law did not recognize their marriage.

“It makes a mockery of the victory of marriage equality to know that the most powerful government in this country, the federal government in Washington D.C., refuses to recognize our marriage because of the Defense of Marriage Act,” Brooks wrote. “They would just as soon deport Steven even though we have been together as a couple for seven years and we are legally married.”

That changed on Wednesday, according to The DOMA Project. The group announced that at 10:30 a.m. EST, just minutes after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, an intern carried the court’s ruling to the immigration judge just blocks away “still warm from the printer,” and the judge subsequently halted Steven’s deportation.

Because of the nature of the Supreme Court’s ruling, this same principle will also apply to other binational LGBT couples — all 24,700 of them, according to Think Progress.

The DOMA Project did not respond to a request for comment.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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