LGBT

After Defense Of Marriage Act Falls, Immigration Judge Halts Married Gay Man’s Deportation

Steven and Sean’s marriage was not recognized by the federal government. Now they don’t have to be separated.

1. The deportation proceedings of a gay Colombian man who is married to an American citizen were immediately stopped by a New York City immigration judge only minutes after the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down by the Supreme Court.

The DOMA Project, a campaign launched in October 2010 by a group of married binational couples, physically ran the ruling five blocks to the immigration judge. The group’s aim is “to raise awareness of the cruel impact of [DOMA] on married gay and lesbian bi-national couples and to bring an end to that discrimination.”

2. Steven, who was in danger of being deported to Colombia — a country he had not lived in for 12 years — married Sean Brooks in 2011.

3. At the time, Brooks wrote about his experience as he and his husband decided to publicly fight to stay together.


I am no stranger to injustice. I am black, gay, I came of age at a time when de-segregation had been fought for, and though not complete, had started changing society. Living through this upheaval and becoming well-adjusted as a double minority is not the sum total of my experience. Coming to terms with being black and gay, I found myself in my fifth decade of life contending with a new identity as half of a binational gay couple.

4. Initially the green card request was denied because the hardship the deportation would have on his spouse was not recognized as a valid reason. Today’s ruling is one of the first of many for binational couples like them.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

According to a UCLA analysis cited in the report Living in Dual Shadows: LGBT Undocumented Immigrants by the Center for American Progress, “There are at least 267,000 LGBT-identified individuals among the adult population of undocumented immigrants.”

Sean (right) and Steven (left) when they were married in 2011.

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