A Beverly couple that married last year is facing an uncertain future because one of them is Pakistani and they both are lesbians.
The couple -- Jackie and Gloria -- is facing a problem that straight couples do not have to worry about.
Because her student visa is set to expire and the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriages, Gloria could be deported to her home country -- Pakistan. The couple did not want their last names published.
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Sen. John Kerry recently wrote a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano seeking help. He asked that a petition by Gloria to stay in the United States not be acted upon until after the outcome of the legal challenges of the controversial Defense of Marriage Act.
"Abeyance will allow this remarkable young married couple to move forward with their dream of building a life together at home in Massachusetts," Kerry wrote.
The couple, both 24, met and fell in love while attending college in Massachusetts.
However, due to financial difficulties, Gloria had to suspend pursuing her education.
They married in October around the same time they received notification that if Gloria did not re-enroll in courses, her student visa would lapse.
Gloria is fearful of returning to Pakistan as a lesbian because of the harsh negative treatment she would receive there.
While they legally married in Massachusetts, the Defense of Marriage Act does not recognize it on the federal level. That means straight couples in the same situation would have access to a green card while same-sex couples do not.
"An American citizen who falls in love and marries someone from another country has access to a system that works fairly well," said their lawyer, Lavi Soloway. "But when it comes to gay and lesbian couples who began marrying in this country ... that process is closed to them."