A federal immigration judge in California on Thursday delayed the deportation of Alfonso Garcia, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who married his husband in New York, CNN reported.

Garcia, 35, and Brian Willingham, a 37-year-old U.S. citizen, exchanged vows last year. The pair have been together nearly 10 years.

Attorney Lavi Soloway, who is representing the couple, said they were petitioning the federal immigration service for legal residency based on their 2011 marriage.

Federal immigration courts do not recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a heterosexual union.

“If they were an opposite sex couple, we wouldn't have this discussion right now,” Soloway told CNN.

“What this case is about is a Mexican man who was brought to the United States as a child and has lived here for 20 years, and has his whole family [here]. But he doesn't have lawful status.”

In a post published at StopTheDeportations.com, Willingham described how his husband's undocumented status was learned by authorities last summer.

“That night we were pulled over for a routine traffic stop. The local law enforcement did their regular background checks and that is when the train went off of the proverbial rails. You see, the local authorities have been conscripted by the federal government in a weird, Orwellian, 1984, Big-Brother sort of way so that now the local authorities are forced to send information directly to federal agencies. Within a few hours I learned that something called an 'immigration hold' had been placed on Alfonso's file, so even though he was not charged with any crime by the local authorities and had no criminal record they were not allowed to release him. They took my husband away in chains and put him in a county jail. The day before I was going to have my first visitation they moved him to a different jail. Then the day before I was going to be allowed to visit him at the 2nd jail they transferred him to a 3rd facility, a federal immigration facility. It was there in San Francisco, a week after this nightmare began, that I was finally allowed to visit my husband for the first time since the nightmare began. Even though he is not a criminal, they brought him in to a tiny visitation booth in handcuffs and we sat there talking and crying until they took him away 10 minutes later.”

While Garcia's deportation has been delayed, proceedings have not ended. An October 27 hearing has been scheduled.