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Two same sex couples get reprieve from deportation orders

Federal law generally does not recognize the marital status of same-sex couples that are legally married under the laws of a growing minority of states. This is due to the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Obama Administration said it would no longer defend in court last year.

Yet recently, despite this obstacle, two same-sex married couples obtained at least temporary relief from deportation orders which would have otherwise pulled them apart based on the immigration status of one spouse.

One of these couples consists of a 65-year-old South African man who is legally married to a 71-year-old man who is a United States citizen. For years now, the couple has been forced to spend six months out of every year apart because the South African man could only obtain a tourist visa allowing him to stay in the states for six months at a time.

However, immigration authorities have finally relented -- at least for now -- and have placed any attempt to deport him on "deferred action," so that he will be allowed to remain in the country undisturbed for at least the next year.

Another married gay couple recently received the same relief from deportation efforts after waging a two-year legal battle. If these couples consisted of a man and a woman, instead of two members of the same sex, the marriage alone would result in favorable immigration rules helping the married couples to stay together.

The fact that the same rules do not apply to legally married same-sex couples, many argue, runs afoul of the United States Constitution. However, there are still many people in the country who oppose same-sex marriage.

Source: Huffington Post, "Same-Sex Couple Wins Immigration Relief, Despite Defense Of Marriage Act," Elise Foley, Feb. 2, 2012

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