A Democratic member of the US House of Representatives, Rush Holt, has called on his Government to stop the deportation of the partners of gay and lesbian US citizens.

Holt made the call after he was contacted by a constituent whose Venezuelan husband was at risk of deportation as he had not been able to obtain a green card or permanent residency.

An estimated 36,000 bi-national same-sex couples currently live in the US. However, the federal Defence Of Marriage Act prevents government departments from recognising the marriages of same-sex couples, whether performed abroad or in US states where same-sex marriage is legal.

This means gay and lesbian Americans may not sponsor their partners for citizenship. As the Government treats them as two single people, the non-American partner will be deported if they cannot maintain a current visa.

The US Government has stated that it will not defend the law in court.

However, neither courts nor Congress is expected to repeal the law soon.

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