In a little over a year, I may have to quit my job, end my 20 year career in US higher education, say “goodbye” to my family, and abandon my country. All because I fell in love with a citizen of the Czech Republic.
There's been a great deal of focus in the progressive blogs recently on specific pieces of LGBT-positive legislation and/or policy – The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), The Matthew Shepard Act (Hate Crimes legislation) and Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT).
They are all important, but lost in the wash is a piece of legislation near and dear to my heart; lost because, arguably, it inherently impacts the fewest numbers of the United States' LGBT citizens: The Uniting American Families Act. Formerly known as the Permanent Partners Immigration Act, the UAFA would give LGBT citizens the same rights heterosexual citizens have regarding bi-national relationships.
Make the jump to learn how you can take action to help your fellow LGBT citizens achieve just one more of their fair and equal civil rights:
Currently, heterosexual citizens can serve as sponsors to their foreign national spouses, but because LGBT citizens can't be married in the US and the Federal government doesn't recognize same-sex marriage entered into by its nationals in other nations (currently Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Norway and South Africa – and soon, Nepal!), LGBT citizens cannot serve the same immigration sponsor function for their foreign national partners.
The UAFA would change that, allowing me and numerous other LGBT citizens to either bring our partners to the US, or (as in my case) keep them here. And I know that, while bi-national same-sex couples are relatively few, my partner and I certainly aren't alone – here at my university I know five other couples, and I don't doubt there are more.
Regardless, we are a very small sub-set of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities, and and we need your help.
Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have introduced the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA, H.R. 1024, S. 424)to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the same manner as spouses of citizens and lawful permanent residents as well as to apply equal penalties for immigration fraud in connection with permanent partnerships.
Please support same-sex bi-national couples.
What can you do to help pass UAFA sooner? : – call to congress (link below) – sign the online petition (link below) – meet in district (link below) – S P R E A D T H E W O R D
For further information and to take any or all of the above actions, please go to the Immigration Equality website: http://www.immigrationequality.org
Thank you. Thank you.
Cross-posted at the big orange and at MyDD