A Brazillian man and his American husband may be split up after the US attorney-general refused to reverse an immigration order.

Genesio Oliveira, 31, is married to Tim Coco, 49, of Massachusetts, but Mr Oliveira believes he may be sent back to Brazil within six months, the Canadian Press reports.

Mr Oliveira was denied asylum after claiming he was raped as a teenager. A judge ruled that he had a genuine fear of returning to his home country but was not physically harmed by the attack.

In June, Mr Oliveira was allowed back in the US on humanitarian grounds after an intervention by US senator John Kerry.

The couple believed that attorney-general Eric Holder would reverse the original decision, allowing him to stay in the country on the basis of his marriage or as an asylum seeker.

However, Mr Holder has refused to reverse the decision.

The couple are now looking over their options, which include re-applying for asylum, suing the government of the Defence of Marriage Act (which bars federal recognition of gay marriage) or asking lawmakers to pass a federal bill allowing Mr Oliveira to stay in the US.