Monday, March 16, 2009

The Washington Post: Keep Bi-National Couples Together

This morning's Washington Post calls on Congress to pass The Uniting American Families Act, which would modify existing U.S. immigration policy to treat same-sex and opposite-sex couples equally. Noting that "American gays and lesbians should not have to choose between their country and their partners," the paper's editorial board weighs in on behalf of the estimated 35,000 couples impacted by immigration inequality.

Here's an excerpt of The Post's editorial:

The Uniting American Families Act would allow gay and lesbian Americans and permanent residents to sponsor their foreign-born partners for legal residency in the United States. The bill, introduced last month in the Senate by Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and in the House by Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), would add "permanent partner" and "permanent partnership" after the words "spouse" and "marriage" in relevant sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act. If passed, it would right a gross unfairness.

. . . According to the most recent census, he added, about 35,000 binational, same-sex couples are living in the United States. The new legislation would ensure that the family connections valued under immigration law are extended to gays and lesbians.

The strain of the status quo on gay and lesbian binational couples should not be discounted. Because their relationships are not legally recognized by the United States, some couples have resorted to illegal marriages where the foreign nationals marry Americans to get green cards that allow them to stay in the country permanently. In other cases, Americans have exiled themselves to be with their partners. Sixteen countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United Kingdom, allow residents to sponsor same-sex permanent partners for legal immigration. American gays and lesbians should not have to choose between their country and their partners.

For more information on UAFA, visit Immigration Equality online. And for information on sending a supportive letter-to-the-editor of The Washington Post, click here.

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