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Government halts deportation of Venezuelan man in same-sex marriage

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Hey, remember how there's going to be same-sex marriage in New York now? I still get a goofy smile when I think about it, and probably will for a long time. But don't worry: there are still a ton of downers (and, as we'll see, small bright spots) when it comes to LGBT equality. Take the case of Josh Vandiver and Henry Velandia: married in Connecticut in 2010, the couple was still facing the deportation of Velandia to his native Venezuela. (Side note: try saying "Vandiver visits Velandia in verdant Venezuela" three times fast. You can't.)

This unfortunate circumstance came about because, while the two are married in the eyes of the state of Connecticut, the Defense of Marriage Act prevents the federal government from recognizing that union. And thanks to that, a citizen can only petition for the legal residency of a spouse if that spouse is of the opposite gender. Of course, everyone was watching this case very closely:

In February, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that the administration viewed the act as unconstitutional and would not defend it in the courts. Gay rights advocates asked the administration to postpone all deportations for same-sex married couples until the courts decided whether the marriage act was constitutional, but the administration said it would continue to enforce the law.

Thankfully for the couple — and hopefully for other same-sex couples in their situation — Immigration has halted Velandia's deportation after a judge ruled that he would like to give the attorney general more time to figure out whether "under some circumstances, a gay partner might be eligible for residency." Immigration complied, and now considers the case not a priority.

So, congratulations to Vandiver and Velandia. But this story shows that thanks the myriad ways our nation has handled same-sex marriage — from constitutional bans to civil unions to DOMA to — there will undoubtedly be a slew of just such tricky legal tangles waiting for us all.