Sunday, June 23, 2024

U.S. Judge Suspends Deportation of Argentine Gay Spouse

A New York judge suspended the deportation of the foreign-born same-sex partner of an American citizen last week, granting them time to petition for federal recognition of their marriage.

After government attorneys agreed that Argentine-bore Monica Alcota’s marriage to Cristina Ojeda, a U.S. citizen, should allow her to remain in the country, Judge Terry A. Bain halted the deportation hearings in Manhattan’s immigration court.

Alcota, 35, and Ojeda, 25, married in Connecticut last year.  Connecticut is one of 5 states and one district where gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry.

Lavi Soloway, Alcota’s lawyer, said the judge’s decision to review the couple’s marriage depends heavily on the uncertain status of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that bans federal recognition of the marriages of same sex 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.”

California Western Law School Professor Ari Waldman explains, “Judge Bain’s decision sets no binding precedent for other immigration cases involving bi-national married gay couples.” Waldman expects that other judges will begin to reference the Alcota-Ojeda case and agree to halt similar deportation hearings until DOMA’s constitutionality is plainly defined, or until the law is repealed.

In December, the women return to court and will review their petition status at this time.


Voice of America


  1. Luis, proud to be gay says

    Good. I am just stunned with all the situations that can complicate things if you are in a gay relationship. Partners don’t have any rights.