Friday, March 20, 2009

The biggest injustice

The Washington Post published an editorial about the unfair way in which gay and lesbian couples are treated by the US immigration system, where same-sex partners cannot sponsor their significant others for a green card like heterosexuals do through marriage, which results in couples being torn apart, forced to break or twist the law, or forced to move abroad.

It's short, but to the point. A few excerpts:
"Under current law, committed same-sex foreign partners of American citizens are unable to use the family immigration system, which accounts for a majority of the green cards and immigrant visas granted annually by the United States," Mr. Leahy said upon introducing the bill. "The promotion of family unity has long been part of federal immigration policy, and we should honor that principle by providing all Americans the opportunity to be with their loved ones." 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.

This bill would completely solve our problems.

Fingers crossed...

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