Connect with us

Blade Blog

60 members of Congress call for LGBT inclusion in immigration reform

Published

on

A group of 60 U.S. House members have signed a letter urging congressional leaders and President Obama to include bi-national LGBT couples this year in comprehensive immigration reform.

Current law prevents LGBT Americans from sponsoring their foreign partners for residency in the United States, impacting an estimated 36,000 same-sex couples and keeping many apart. Signers of the letter say the system in place is “unacceptable” and immigration reform legislation “must include a strong family reunification component inclusive of LGBT families.”

“In truth, no immigration reform bill can be called ‘comprehensive’ unless it includes all Americans, including those who are LGBT,” the letter states.

The group of lawmakers is led by lesbian Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). Other signers include gay Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) as well as Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who sponsors standalone legislation that would address the situation known as the Uniting American Families Act. Still another signer is Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), who included similar language in his Reuniting Families Act last year.

Rachel Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality, said the lawmakers’ letter “signals that our champions in Congress, and the LGBT community, are ready to work for passage of reform that includes all families, including LGBT families.”

“Passage of immigration reform will require every family standing with their neighbors and loved ones to work for change,” she said. “There are more than 36,000 lesbian and gay binational families counting on us to get this work done.”

During his State of the Union address, President Obama identified immigration reform as an item for the congressional agenda this year. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) are developing the legislation for their respective chambers in Congress.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Carl Schmid

    February 9, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Unfortunately the President did not identify immigration reform as a priority for this year. Here is the exact quote: “And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system -– to secure our borders and enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation.” Not the emphatic statement that Congress should do it this year, like he did for other issues.

  2. Tim

    February 9, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I’m not surprised that Obama and the Congress are neglecting gay & lesbian Americans again with immigration reform. The Uniting American Families Act should have been passed as a stand alone bill years ago, but now it appears that the House and Senate don’t even want it to get a vote in the committee, let alone the floor of the house or senate. And you can forget about them attaching it to the immigration bill, because they will surely claim that doing so would doom any immigration bill.

  3. Mark

    February 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Current United States Immigration laws amount to a situation in which denies two people who love each other the right to exist together. This is not to discount the other 1,138 federal rights are also extremely important – but families who are torn apart face a far greater challenge than other same gender couples who do not receive legal recognition and benefits.

    While strict constructionist conservatives may assert that “gay and lesbian people have the same rights as heterosexuals to also marry a member of the opposite sex” – their assertion, if legally tested, would be met with criminal penalties for marriage immigration fraud for a gay or lesbian person to marry and sponsor someone of the opposite sex.

    Therefore they are wrong, Supreme Court Justice Scalia is wrong – wrong to the tune of “a $250,000.00 fine for immigration fraud, deportation and five years in prison” wrong. Not that very many gay and lesbian people have any sincere plans to marry the opposite sex, but here is where this supposed “gays have the same rights as heterosexuals to marry EVEN the opposite sex” anti-gay rhetoric also fails the legal litmus test. And I doubt that Scalia or anyone in the anti-gay crowd would stand behind their rhetorical argument, put their money where their mouth is and actually post bail for someone trying to prove their assertion.

    Absent the provision for same-gender sponsorship, current immigration law establishes a second-class of American citizens who pay taxes, yet are stripped of any legal right to sponsor anyone of either gender.

    To remedy this inequity, gay and lesbian people should either 1) be allowed to sponsor a same-gender partner, or 2) be allowed to enter sham marriages and sponsor an opposite-gender partner and granted both a green card and immunity from immigration marriage fraud prosecution. But there should not be special laws that are designed to deliberately fence all gays and lesbians out of the immigration process.

    The anti-gay political rhetoric is that supposedly gays and lesbians “tear apart families”. The false notion that gays and lesbians hurt any family is rhetorical fearmongering agenda-based speculation rooted in political ideology. Government-imposed anti-gay discrimination and homophobia is what tears apart families, these situation are living proof of real families, real kids, in real communities – not phony rhetoric. If the supposed “family-values” conservatives are really pro-family and pro-child, then they need to set up to the plate, put their money where their mouth is, can the rhetoric, stick to their core values of marriage, families and children and stop forbidding and prohibiting other people to have families. But I expect most to continue to pipe out hot-air political rhetoric and abandon their core principles any way that they can justify their argument with guilt-by-association comparisons to the laundry list of irrelevant peripheral situations. The rest of us need to stand up and support these efforts to truly make CIR to be “comprehensive” for all couples, families and their children.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Blade Blog

National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Certifies Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc

Published

on

Washington, D.C. — Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc, the parent company of the Washington Blade and Azer Creative, announced today it has been certified by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) as an LGBT Business Enterprise. The NGLCC supports and advocates for diversity and inclusion for LGBT-owned businesses. With this certification the Blade’s parent company joins more than 510 business and 134 corporate partners of the NGLCC.

Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. owns and operates the Washington Blade, the oldest and most acclaimed LGBT newspaper in the country. In 2012, the company launched Azer Creative, a full-service design firm. The company employs more than a dozen full-time LGBT staff.

“We are excited to become one of the 500 LGBT businesses across the country certified by NGLCC,” said Lynne Brown, the Blade’s publisher and a co-owner of the company. “The LGBT community has been part of our company from the beginning and we look forward to continue that for many years to come.”

The Washington Blade was founded in 1969 and is known as the “newspaper of record” for the LGBT community both locally and nationally. Visit washingtonblade.com for more information. Azer Creative is a full-service graphic design firm based in Washington, D.C. Visit azercreative.com for more information. 

Continue Reading

Blade Blog

Vote now for the 2013 Best of Gay DC!

Choose in dozens of categories among hundreds of nominees, and make your voice heard!

Published

on

Best of Gay D.C., Gay news, Washington Blade
Continue Reading

Blade Blog

Nominate the ‘Best of Gay D.C.’ now!

Dozens of categories cover all the best for LGBT Washington. Who deserves the prize this year?

Published

on

Best of Gay D.C., Gay news, Washington Blade
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular