LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lesbian couple facing immigration troubles has the standing to challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act because it violates the constitutional rights of immigrants in same-sex marriages, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall also ordered Friday that the lawsuit, filed last year on behalf of Philippines citizen Jane DeLeon and her spouse Irma Rodriguez, can proceed as a class-action case.
DeLeon claimed in the lawsuit that she was eligible to obtain a green card, but wasn't able to get a waiver she needs to obtain residency here because the U.S. government doesn't recognize her same-sex marriage to an American.
Peter Schey, president of the Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, which filed the suit, said he hopes the decision will lead the government to reconsider visa applications by same-sex couples.
DeLeon asserted in a statement Saturday that her visa application was denied "solely because we have a same-sex marriage."
"Hopefully our long ordeal is now close to an end and we can stop living in fear of being forced to leave the country," she said.
The case is one of a number of challenges brought by same-sex couples — some of them facing immigration troubles — over the 1996 law that prohibits the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages. It is now under review by the Supreme Court.
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