Massachusetts Senator John Kerry says he supports a new lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Tim Coco and Genesio “Junior” Oliveira, a binational gay couple, announced Monday they would challenge the 13-year-old law that bans the federal government from recognizing the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

Oliveira, 30, returned to his native Brazil in 2007 after an immigration judged denied his request for asylum. He sought asylum in the U.S. in 2002 because he said he was raped as a teenager. In March, Senator Kerry sent a letter asking for intervention in the matter to Attorney General Eric Holder. On Friday, Coco told the AP that the deadline for Holder to act had passed without action from the administration, effectively supporting Oliveira's denial of asylum and keeping the men apart.

The pair married in Massachusetts in 2005, three years after they met. Because federal immigration law does not recognize the couple's marriage, Coco is not allowed to sponsor his husband for citizenship.

Kerry spokeswoman Brigid O'Rourke told On Top Magazine Tuesday that the senator will continue to support the couple's efforts to reunite, including suing the U.S. government.

“Senator Kerry will support Tim and Junior's lawsuit, just as he supported the state's lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of DOMA, and he'll continue to work towards a solution that sees this loving couple reunited for good,” O'Rourke said in an email.

O'Rourke said Senator Kerry voted against DOMA in 1996 because “he knew it would result in tragedies like this one.”

“It's tragedies like this that really underscore why DOMA was wrong in 1996 and is wrong today,” she said.

The couple's legal challenge will compete against at least three other lawsuits currently making their way through the federal courts, including one from California and two from Massachusetts.

The legal obstacles keeping the men apart are being given consideration in Congress. Representative Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, has introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal DOMA, and the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). UAFA would allow gay Americans to sponsor an immigrant partner for citizenship.

Steve Ralls, director of communications for Immigration Equality, a group lobbying for gay-inclusive immigration reform, said Coco's story highlighted the “urgent need to end the discriminatory immigration policies that LGBT couples face every day.”

“Tens of thousands of LGBT families are separated, or are facing separation, because the federal government does not recognize them for immigration purposes,” Ralls told On Top Magazine in an email. “Too many families are torn apart under current immigration law, and for each of them, time is of the essence.”

“Everyone should be allowed to be with, and build a family with, the person they love,” he added.

Congressman Mike Quigley, a Democrat from Illinois, urged for passage of UAFA on the House floor Monday.

“I strongly urge my colleagues to remember what it means to achieve 'comprehensive' [immigration] reform,” Quigley said. “We talk about doing what is right, what is fair, and what is just – but we neglect to imagine the pain and the suffering these families are going through because we as a government think it's our right to tell people who they can love.”

The effort to include LGBT couples in immigration reform has attracted 117 co-sponsors in the House.

Coco, 48, says he has accumulated about $250,000 in legal fees since January.

“We are profoundly sad,” Coco told the AP. “This is more than any married [couple] should have to face.”