September 9, 2013

Vt. same-sex couples celebrate court ruling

The Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Two same-sex married couples in Vermont are celebrating their new immigration status after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for the foreign-born spouse in each to gain legal residency in the country.

"It is so amazing the position we are in today," said Peru-born Christian Pinillos, who got his green card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services this past week.

Pinillos and his spouse, Jason Kirchick of Stowe, and Japan-born Takako Ueda and Frances Herbert, of Dummerston, were interviewed in August at the St. Albans office of CIS, and both couples were given strong indications they would be approved to live in the United States as binational married couples.

The decisions came about two months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the section of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to same-sex spouses.

The worries of Pinillos and Kirchick, both 32, were heightened this past winter when the ski lodge where they worked ran into financial trouble and it appeared both would lose their jobs. Pinillos was in the U.S. on a work visa and feared that a job loss would cause him to lose his legal status and that federal authorities would demand he leave the country.

Ueda did get such a demand in December 2011, a few months after the student visa she had been relying on expired. She got a deferral of deportation but remained in legal limbo until the court decision.

 

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