Takako Ueda and Frances Herbert were married in Vermont last year. But Ueda, who is from Japan and no longer has a student VISA, was still at risk of being deported. Because the Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as one man and one woman, the benefits-- like a green card-- granted to noncitizen spouses did not extend to Ueda. The couple is challenging the law in federal court. Tuesday, they found out that while the suit moves forward, Ueda will not be kicked out of the country.
"We are just so grateful that we have all the support and I am just so overwhelmed. Finally, I have legal documents," Ueda said.
The deferred action, as it is called, means for the next two years Ueda is legally allowed to be in this country even though she is technically an illegal immigrant.
"It's a reprieve," said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont. "So while we are waiting, they are legally allowed to be here together and not live with this incredible apprehension about whether two people who have been together, who love each other are going to be separated."
But for these women who have known each other for 30 years, the reprieve is only one step in the process.
"We know for two years that we won't be separated and certainly the end goal is that Takako gets a green card and has permanent residency in the United States," Frances Herbert said.
In order for that to happen, DOMA needs to be overturned by Congress or declared unconstitutional by the courts.
"My hope is that DOMA is overthrown, we should have never passed it," Welch said. "But the federal government, in this case very clearly, defers to the state decision on what defines marriage."
And others, like those who are part of an LGBT advocacy group at Dartmouth College, want to see DOMA disappear as well.
"I think it doesn't make sense to people that this couple can be legally married in Vermont and being perceived and accepted by their neighbors and their community as a married couple, but then not enjoy the federal privileges of being a married couple," said Anna Roth, a peer mentor.
While the couple may have a lot of support in our region, same-sex marriage remains controversial and there continues to be a lot of opposition. In fact, 31 states have passed amendments banning it.
Thursday, April 17 2014 7:08 AM EDT2014-04-17 11:08:22 GMT
The Stowe Police Department is currently investigating the untimely death of two adults. Stowe Police responded to 262 Cady Hill Road at 4:38 p.m. and discovered deceased individuals. The Stowe PoliceMore >>
The Stowe Police Department is currently investigating the untimely death of two adults.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:49 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:49:04 GMT
Major flaws were uncovered in the Burlington School Budget that failed at the polls. An audit has discovered that the district was making huge errors when budgeting for next year. What this means, is thatMore >>
Major flaws were uncovered in the Burlington School Budget that failed at the polls. An audit has discovered that the district was making huge errors when budgeting for next year.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:53:47 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
It was a lifesaving rescue in the nick of time. A Franklin County sheriff's deputy put his life on the line to save a woman trapped in a truck with floodwaters raging around her. More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:00 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:00:55 GMT
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin (D-Vermont), VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath. ShumlinMore >>
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin, VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:21 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:21:46 GMT
A body found near the North Hartland Dam appears to be that of a missing man from New Hampshire. Michael Hayward, 42, of Sunapee, disappeared two months ago. His car was found near the Quechee Gorge. PoliceMore >>
A body found near the North Hartland Dam appears to be that of a missing man from New Hampshire.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:14:24 GMT
Authorities say six people managed to escape a house fire in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning. First responders say when they arrived at 42 Smith Street, the house was completely engulfed in flames. CityMore >>
Authorities say six people managed to escape a house fire in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning. Police say the blaze was sparked by a child playing with a lighter.More >>