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Gay Woman in Same-Sex Marriage Won’t be Deported, Judge Says Ruling Depends on Pending Law

BY Erica Pearson
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Wednesday, March 23rd 2011, 4:00 AM

Queens couple Cristina Ojeda (l.) and Monica Alcota won't be separated just yet as a local judge delays their hearing until the Defense of Marriage Act becomes clearer.
Klaus Enrique Photography

Queens couple Cristina Ojeda (l.) and Monica Alcota won’t be separated just yet as a local judge delays their hearing until the Defense of Marriage Act becomes clearer.

An immigration judge agreed Tuesday to delay the deportation of a Queens woman until the legal status of the Defense of Marriage Act becomes clearer.

Monica Alcota faced return to Argentina even though she’s married to an American citizen, Cristina Ojeda – because the feds don’t give immigration benefits to gay couples.

President Obama announced last month that the White House won’t defend the 1996 law that bars recognition of same-sex marriages.

That gave Ojeda and Alcota new hope that Alcota, who overstayed a tourist visa, might be approved to stay in the U.S.

Judge Terry Bain put a hold on her deportation order while the couple waits to see if the Defense of Marriage Act is overturned and their green card application goes through.  “She could have said no,” Ojeda said. “But instead she gave us time.”  “Little by little, we’re building up hope and more courage.”

The couple will be back in court in December to give the judge an update on their case.

“I was very pleased that both the judge and the government attorney treated the issue with seriousness and respect,” said their lawyer, Lavi Soloway.

“I think it was a demonstration of respect for Monica and Cristina and their marriage. They were kind and generous about it.”

epearson@nydailynews.com

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