A New York court is considering the marriage of an Argentine gay woman in her legal fight to remain in the United States.

Monica Alcota's deportation hearings in Manhattan were halted last week after lawyers argued that her marriage to Cristina Ojeda made her eligible to remain in the country.

Alcota, 35, came to the United States more than 10 years ago. She overstayed her tourist visa and is considered to be living in this country illegally.

Ojeda, 25, a U.S. citizen, and Alcota were married in Connecticut last year.

In an interview with the gay marriage group Stop 8, Alcota's lawyer, Lavi Soloway, said the judge's decision to consider the women's marriage rested on the shifting status of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Clinton-era law that bans federal recognition of the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

“We argued this week in court that the judge and the attorney representing the Department of Homeland Security should take note of the changing landscape of the Defense of Marriage Act,” Soloway said. “They should take note of the fact first that the president and the [U.S.] attorney general announced that they would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act on February 23, and that they found the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. But also that Congress, both the House and the Senate, were moving now to repeal it. And that legislation had been introduced.”

“And then, of course, that previously this summer a federal district court judge had ruled the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.”

“And that taken together, all three branches were essentially working on the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act, that it would be premature to deport the spouse of a lesbian American citizen, while that was happening, when the Defense of Marriage Act was the only obstacle standing between them and a green card.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Soloway added that Alcota's status was discovered when a Rochester, New York border patrol agent boarded a bus she and Ojeda were traveling on and asked everyone for identification. Alcota was taken away and detained in a New Jersey detention facility for three months.

In a statement to CNN, the government said it continues to enforce DOMA.