Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Support New LGBT bill in Arkansas

Your help is needed in order to help get the word out about a bill in Congress that would change the lives of many people who’s families are being torn apart.

The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA -H.R. 1024/S. 424) was introduced as a Valentine’s Day gift this year to same-sex, binational couples by Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Sen. Patrick Leahy.

The UAFA would fulfill the pledge of family unification under current U.S. immigration policy by allowing gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor their life partners for immigration to the United States.

As you may be aware, the U.S. government discriminates against gay and lesbian binational couples by not allowing us to sponsor our foreign-born life partners for immigration. Because of this, we face the terrible choice of separating from the person we love
or leaving our country. As Americans, we should not have to choose between family and country.

The Washington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle have both recently endorsed passage of the UAFA, and the American Bar Association has also just recently adopted a resolution endorsing the UAFA.

This is an issue that The White House also supports:

Asked about Obama’s stance on UAFA [the Uniting American Families Act] and the likelihood of its inclusion in comprehensive immigration legislation, White House spokesman Shin Inouye said in a statement that: “The president thinks Americans with partners from other countries should not be faced with a painful choice between staying with their partner or staying in their country. We will work closely with Congress to craft comprehensive immigration reform legislation.”

This is not a problem that is fixed by civil unions or even same-sex marriage arriving in Iowa, Vermont, Maine or any other state. Tens of thousands of bi-national same-sex couples continue to be discriminated against despite changing marriage laws. The Uniting American Families Act would allow us to sponsor our foreign partners for immigration, a right that straight married couples in the US enjoy, along with same-sex couples in 19 other nations around the world. Until this legislation passes, the US will continue, in the gleeful words of the Family Research Council, to “export homosexuals from the United States” as we are forced to choose between our loved ones and our country.

PLEASE contact your members of Congress about this bill, and then reach out to the LGBT Community by mentioning this bill on your website, and send this e-mail to your members, board, family and friends - anyone who is supportive of LGBT rights in Arkansas - to help spread the word about this very important issue. While I am not from Arkansas, in order for this bill to move forward, it needs the support of as many members of Congress as possible, including:

Senator Blanche Lincoln 800-352-9364
Senator Mark Pryor (501) 324-6336
Rep. Marion Berry (870) 972-4600
Rep. Vict Snyder 501-324-5941
Rep. John Boozman(479) 725-0400
Rep. Mike Ross (870) 881-0681

Reaching out to these members of Congress by calling and writing to them to ask for their support can help to ensure this bill will pass! Even if they are Republicans, they need to hear from their constituents about this.

I am one such person who would benefit greatly from the passage of the UAFA. I am an American citizen and my partner is from Europe and we both live and work here in the US, where we bought an apartment together a few years ago. With the recent economic downturn, my partner’s employer has notified him that his work visa will not be renewed when it expires in a few months. If he cannot locate another employer willing to sponsor his work visa (he has been trying for months, but not only is it difficult to find a job at the moment, but especially so when you have to convince the employer to hire an immigration attorney), we will be forced to sell our place, leave our family and friends, and move to Europe. This is something neither of us want to do as we have built a life here together.

If this bill does not move forward on its own, it must be included in Comprehensive Immigration Reform - to include the right of gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor our partners and spouses for immigration.

Sadly, many members of the progressive and pro-LGBT Community are not aware of this issue. Please help me contact Congress to spread the word!!

Update on this issue

We picked up 13 more co-sponsors in the House of Representatives,and 2 more in the Senate. There was a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about this bill and it got a lot of press (NY Times, CNN and others).



  1. How many votes are needed for this bill to pass? I am also interested. Thanks.

  2. Not quite sure... you can get ahold of us at 212-629-7440 ext 226 to find out more as we can track down every kind of LGBTQ info.