Same sex US couple face separation

A same sex couple in the US who were married last year face separation due to a legal loophole.

Kelly Costello, 30, married Fabiola Morales, 39, in a full Unitarian wedding ceremony last year attended by their families and  live in Potomac, Maryland.

However, Morales, a nurse, is Peruvian and has been living in the US for six years on a combination of work and student visas. Her current visa expires next year and she then faces deportation. As her spouse, an elementary (primary) school teacher is female, however, she cannot sponsor Morales for a green (permanent resident) card, the usual procedure when aUS citizen marries a foreign national.

US federal law the Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as taking place between a man and a woman, making same sex marriages, now legal in a number of states, ineligible for federal benefits such as green card sponsorship.

According to a report in the Washington Post, there are thought to be around 36,000 same sex couples in the US caught in a similar legal clash.

Ian Thompson, a legal advisor the for the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “[The Defense of Marriage Act] hurts same-sex couples in many ways, and immigration is one of the cruellest. Today, you have thousands of couples whose legal marriages are not recognized by the federal government.”

Morales said she and her partner deserved equality:

“We love each other. We want to share our lives and raise a family and be happy like everyone else. Our families are very supportive. We are good people, and we have worked hard to make a contribution.”

Photo by Laura Taylor via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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