Gay couple Josh Vandiver and Henry
Velandia say they're shocked that a federal immigration judge has
delayed Velandia's deportation.
The judge granted a petition of
adjournment for Velandia, a citizen of Venezuela who married Vandiver
in Connecticut last year.
Because of the Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA), the law that bans federal agencies from recognizing the
marriages of gay and lesbian couples, the federal government does not
recognize the couple's marriage and will not allow Vandiver to
sponsor his husband for citizenship, as a U.S. citizen in a
heterosexual marriage would be allowed to do.
The couple had appealed for Homeland
Security Secretary Janet Nepolitano to intervene in their case.
“This law, the Defense of Marriage
Act, it exists, and I knew that it existed, and that the federal
government would not recognize my marriage, and that I wouldn't be
able to sponsor Henry, but I think that's wrong and unjust,”
Vandiver said during an MSNBC appearance. “And the issue for us is
that May 6 Henry could be ripped away from me. But that doesn't have
to happen. Secretary Napolitano of Homeland Security could stop the
deportations of spouses like Henry, my husband, and all the thousands
of same-sex couples like us.” (The video is embedded in the right
panel of this page.)
“I'm in shock,” Velandia
told The Star-Ledger.
“It's the best outcome that we could
have hoped for,” said lawyer Lavi Soloway.
Velandia is due to return to court on
December 16, but he can remain in the U.S. for now.