For the 1st time ever, a gay immigrant is allowed to stay in Texas based on a same-sex marriage

David Gonzalez and Mario Ramirez (via Stop the Deportations: The DOMA Project)

A Houston immigration judge has allowed a gay Costa Rican immigrant to stay in the U.S. based on his same-sex marriage to an American — which LGBT advocates say is a first in Texas.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Judge Richard Walton on Thursday closed a deportation case against David Gonzalez, an accountant who’s been fighting to stay in Texas with his husband, U.S. citizen Mario Ramirez, since last year.

Gonzalez and Ramirez, who’ve been together for more than six years and live near the Houston suburb of Humble, were married in California in 2008 — during the brief window when same-sex marriage was legal there. But Gonzalez has overstayed his tourist visa, and because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, he cannot apply for a Green Card based on the couple’s marriage.

Steve Ralls, a spokesman for Immigration Equality, notes that the outcome is consistent with other recent cases involving same-sex couples across the country — including high-profile ones in California and New Jersey. Last August, the Obama administration announced it would focus on high-priority immigration cases involving public safety concerns — a move which benefited same-sex couples where one partner is facing deportation. From the Chronicle:

Gonzalez said he left Costa Rica in Spring 2000 on a tourist visa to escape an abusive ex-lover. More than six years ago, he met Mario Ramirez, a U.S. citizen, whom he calls his “soulmate.”

The couple married in Los Angeles in 2008, during the brief period that same-sex marriage was legal in California. They moved to Texas, bought a home near Humble, and started talking about adopting children.

The closure of Gonzalez’s case means that the government is no longer seeking to deport him, but he still has no legal right to work in the United States.

“It is definitely good news that the administration is beginning to drop deportation proceedings, but now the individuals who are spared from deportation need to be able to receive that legal recognition that is so important as they continue to build a life here with their U.S. citizen partners,” Ralls said.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Gay, married Costa Rican immigrant talks to Houston TV station about his deportation case

David Gonzalez and Mario Ramirez

Last week we told you about David Gonzalez, the gay Costa Rican immigrant who’s fighting deportation and trying to remain in Texas with his husband, U.S. citizen Mario Ramirez. On Thursday, a Houston judge delayed Gonzalez’s deportation proceedings and urged the parties to resolve the matter before the next court hearing, set for Aug. 31. In the meantime, KHOU interviewed Gonzalez for a story that aired Monday night. Watch it below.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Texas judge delays deportation hearing for gay, married Costa Rican immigrant

David Gonzalez and Mario Ramirez, via Stop The Deportations: The DOMA Project

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A Houston judge on Thursday delayed a deportation hearing for a gay Costa Rican immigrant who’s fighting to stay in Texas with his husband. The judge delayed the proceeding for 35-year-old David Gonzalez until Aug. 31 based on a technicality, but also urged the two parties — Gonzalez’s attorney and U.S. immigration officials — to resolve the matter before then. Gonzalez married his husband, U.S. citizen Mario Ramirez, in California in 2008, but is unable to obtain a green card because of the Defense of Marriage Act. According to The Houston Chronicle, “The delay announced by the immigration judge Thursday means the couple will be able to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the day they met, Aug. 21, together without worrying that immigration agents will come knocking on their door.” Read more about the couple at Stop the Deportations: The DOMA Project.

2. The Obama administration has asked a federal appeals court to suspend its order from last week halting enforcement of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” In a brief filed Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice asks the court to suspend the order by today, saying it wants to follow the timetable laid out in the DADT repeal act passed by Congress last year.

3. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Thursday making the state the first in the country to require schools to teach students about the contributions of LGBT people. The bill also prohibits instruction that reflects adversely on people because of their sexual orientation.

—  John Wright