Thursday, July 15, 2010

PFLAG Praises Congress for United Effort to End Discrimination Against LGBT Bi-national Families

Earlier today, PFLAG joined a coalition of organizations and leaders from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), immigrants’ rights, civil rights and faith communities and issued the following statement as Members of Congress gathered on Capitol Hill to call for passage of immigration reform legislation that ends discrimination against LGBT bi-national families:

"Today, key Congressional leaders joined forces on Capitol Hill to call on their colleagues to support passage of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) as part of any future immigration reform effort. Tens of thousands of LGBT bi-national families are counting on this critically important legislation in order to achieve the most basic equality: The freedom to be with their families, and the people they love.

Today’s united front in support of UAFA – with key lawmakers from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC); Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC); Congressional Progressive Caucus and Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus – could not be more urgent for the families who are facing separation, or already living in exile, because of our country’s discriminatory immigration laws. An estimated 17,000 young children are being raised by LGBT parents in bi-national families and those children face the very real possibility of losing a parent, or leaving the only country they have ever called home. The United States can do better, and we stand with these courageous Members of Congress who are leading the way to ensure these families can be together.

We are proud to support the Uniting American Families Act, and urge Congress to heed the calls of lawmakers today and ensure its passage before one more family is separated. We are especially grateful to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who have led the effort on behalf of our families in Congress, as well as Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), who has worked tirelessly to end discrimination against all immigrant families through his inclusive Reuniting Families Act. Today, we are also heartened to have the steadfast support of key leaders such as Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA),Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and others who believe that we must fix our broken immigration system forevery family, including LGBT families.

Our constituencies, members and congregations stand ready, willing and able to support passage of legislation that fixes our broken immigration system for all families, including LGBT binational families. No reform can truly be called comprehensive unless it includes LGBT immigrant families as well. Today, leaders made clear that all future immigration legislation must be truly inclusive, and we are proud to stand with them in that call. We are committed to working, together, for this long overdue and much-needed victory and to honoring our country’s commitment to families and its rich history as a nation of immigrants."

Groups that endorsed this legislation include: Anti-Defamation League, AIDS Action Council, Advocates for Youth, Asian American Justice Center, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), the Council for Global Equality, the Episcopal Church, Equality California, Equality Federation, Family Equality Council, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Bill Mefford, Director of Civil and Human Rights, General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church, Hispanic Federation, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Watch, Immigration Equality Action Fund, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Lambda Legal, Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National, People For the American Way, South Asian Americans Leading Together, Stonewall Democrats, UNID@S, Union for Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

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