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.
Sunday, May 19 2013 12:06 AM EDT2013-05-19 04:06:03 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
State Police say he is also being charged with the theft of two other vehicles and a woman's dog.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:45 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:45:20 GMT
State police are looking for the person responsible for stealing a school bus and taking it for a joyride in northern Vermont. Troopers say the 2014-model bus belonging Newport City Elementary SchoolMore >>
Police say the school bus belonging to the Newport City Elementary School was taken for a joy ride Friday night.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:10 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:10:53 GMT
A fatal accident in Lyndon Saturday. It happened around 2:30 Saturday afternoon on Route 122. Police say 76-year-old Gerda Blaszczyk of St. Johnsbury swerved to avoid an animal. Her car travelled up anMore >>
Police say the driver swerved to avoid an animal.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:03 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:03:45 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is touring the state this weekend with a special guest. Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. TheMore >>
Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:56:03 GMT
Saturday marked a new beginning for Castleton State College students. "Were all gathered here, getting fired up, having a good time," explained Castleton graduate, David Carrier. The 500 graduates hadMore >>
It's graduation day for the class of 20-13 at Castleton State College. And just for the occasion, the college invited back an alumnus with a strong connection to the school.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:51:14 GMT
Young bikers were learning the rules of the road in South Burlington Saturday. Kids who brought their bikes to the Dorset St. Park received free checks for their brakes, chains, and tires. Helmets alsoMore >>
and much more... making sure kids are safe before they hit the roads this summer.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:49 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:49:26 GMT
On a sun-soaked Saturday, Karen Trayah and her dogs enjoyed the sights, sounds, and of course smells of a festival for fidos. "It's called Woofstock, however, this is our 1st year doing it here at theMore >>
Making sure our furry friends have a place to call home.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:54:10 GMT
The door to room 118 at the Liberty Inn and Suites is gone-- busted by police during an early morning drug raid. They say tenant Julie Herron, 41, was selling heroin out her room. She was living thereMore >>
A South Burlington drug bust exposed new abuses of the state's homeless voucher program. A couple was arrested for selling heroin out of their motel room, and police say the state was footing the bill for their stay.More >>