Our friend Eugene Sepulveda alerted us to a new piece of proposed legislation intended to help those LGBT couples impacted by immigration enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples. According to the Gay Life section of About.com, the Uniting American Families Act, UAFA, H.R. 2221, seeks to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act. If passed, the legislation would allow permanent partners of United States citizens and permanent residents, including same-sex partners, to obtain residency. Currently, only the heterosexual spouses of U.S. citizens are granted citizenship once they marry.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) is reintroducing the legislation this coming Friday, after introducing a version in 2007.
If you’re moved to write a letter to your representatives in Congress to alert them to the reintroduction of the bill and your support for it, here’s a suggested template:
I am writing to ask for your support of gay & lesbian equality in immigration policy by asking that you sign as a cosponsor of the Uniting American Families Act of 2009.
The U.S. government discriminates against gay and lesbian binational couples by not allowing us/them to sponsor foreign-born life partners for immigration. Because of this, we/they face the terrible choice of separating from the person we/they love or leaving our/their country. As Americans, we should not have to choose between family and country. Please cosponsor the Uniting American Families Act of 2009 by reaching out to Rep. Nadler before February 12.
Passage of the bill would not only be a triumph for those LGBT couples who find themselves in this situation, but it will also be another step forward in helping LGBT couples gain the same rights that straight couples currently have. We’ll keep you updated on its status.