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.