Citing a clear shift in the federal government’s stance on the 1996 Defense of Marriage act and how it affects same-sex binational couples, an immigration judge in Newark today delayed the deportation of a gay Venezualan man fighting to remain in the country on the basis of his marriage to his American spouse.
Henry Velandia married his husband, Josh Vandiver, in Connecticut last year, but because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which makes the law blind to same-sex unions, Vandiver cannot sponsor his husband for a visa. As recently as two days ago, Judge Alberto Riefkohl and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief counsel continued to deny requests by the couple’s lawyer to delay the hearing. But yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent a strong message when he vacated a judge’s decision in a similar case, also in New Jersey, and Riefkohl granted Velandia’s petition. The hearing was pushed back to December of this year.
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