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Winston-Salem gay couple waiting on U.S. Supreme Court for fate of marriage

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Manny Llamas and Charles Banks III are a married gay couple in Winston-Salem who recently faced the possibility of Llamas’ deportation.

“We can call it hell – what we’ve been through for the past year,” Banks, 39, said referring to the money spent on fighting deportation and the time that Llamas spent in four detention centers over six weeks.

Their lives could be profoundly affected within days by legal challenges against the federal Defense of Marriage Act – challenges that have landed on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The couple got married in Vermont last month after being together for about nine years, is the issue of whether a gay couple should have the same rights as a straight couple – particularly as those rights relate to U.S. immigration law and which would allow Llamas to break the immigration limbo he now lives.

The Defense of Marriage Act was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress with broad bipartisan support and enacted by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1996, who since has opposed DOMA.

The federal law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and it precludes the federal government from recognizing the legal marriage that Llamas and Banks got in Vermont.

Read more: The Winston-Salem Journal.