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"A lesbian couple is
appealing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's decision to
deny a spousal green card as questions about their marriage loom with
threat of deportation. Dummerston residents Frances Herbert and Japanese-born Takako
Ueda, legally married in Vermont earlier this year, were denied a green
card on Dec. 1 because the couple's nuptials are not recognized at the
federal level. And without a visa or authorized documentation, immigrant
officials could send Ueda back to Japan by the end of the year after
more than a decade with Herbert. The decision leaves Ueda without lawful immigration status. In a letter from the citizenship department, Herbert's petition
for alien relative was denied because the Immigration Nationality Act
does not specifically define the term "spouse" with respect to gender.
However, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines marriage as a legal
union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, trumping
Vermont law and voiding the Dummerston couple's eligibility. "The DOMA applies as a matter of federal law whether or not your
marriage is recognized under state law," the document reads. "Your
spouse is not a person of the opposite sex. Therefore, under the DOMA,
your petition must be denied."" - Brattleboro Reformer, Dec. 21, 2011.