Victory! Boston Immigration Judge Grants Reprieve To Dwayne and Bolivar, Postpones Deportation Proceedings
Today, a Boston Immigration Judge postponed further deportation proceedings for Dwayne and Bolivar, a married, gay binational couple who have lived together in rural Maine for almost ten years. Overruling the strenuous objection of the ICE Assistant Chief Counsel, the Judge scheduled the next hearing for October 2012; at that time a final hearing will likely be scheduled for a date in 2014.
Like thousands of married, binational couples, Dwayne and Bolivar are hoping for the best case scenario: that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the next two years. Last summer, Dwayne filed a green card petition for his husband, Bolivar, a Venezuela citizen who moved to the United States in 2002. The green card petition was denied in February 2012 solely because of Section 3 of DOMA, which prevents the federal government from recognizing their marriage. With legal representation provided by Stop The Deportations – The DOMA Project, Dwayne and Bolivar appealed the denial of their green card petition to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Many legal observers believe that the Gill case currently pending before the First Circuit Court of Appeals, will be the first challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act to make its way to the Supreme Court where it is hoped that DOMA will be found unconstitutional as a violation of the equal protection guarantee of the United States Constitution and is struck down.
Today, when Dwayne and Bolivar stood up for their marriage and challenged DOMA, they did so in a court of law on the 8th anniversary of marriage equality in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In the intervening years, over 18,462 lesbian and gay couples have married in Massachusetts. Like Dwayne and Bolivar, these couples are now denied access to 1,138 provisions of federal laws protecting and promoting the well-being of families. They remain unequal, all because their marriages are not recognized under DOMA.
Dwayne and Bolivar will continue to work with Stop The Deportations – The DOMA Project to urge that all pending DOMA deportation cases are terminated, administratively closed, or postponed until DOMA has been repealed by Congress or reaches a final judicial determination by the Supreme Court.