Saturday, January 24, 2009

Waiting on the World to Change

So, the 111th US Congress had it's first day of business on January 6, 2009. We all knew things were going to change with the election of Barack Obama, but who would have guessed the extent?

Ever since Sarah and I met in 1998, the US government could not have cared less about immigration rights for same-sex bi-national couples. Every year, bills were introduced to try to remedy the unfair and painful situations that so many of us experienced, but every year, Republikkans ensured that these bills never left the committee room.

Anyway, on the first day the Senate met this year, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was speaking on the need for immigration reform in the US. He began by saying:

"Mr. President, as we begin the 111th Congress, we will try, once again, to enact comprehensive immigration reforms that have eluded us in the past several years. With an administration that understands the critical necessity of meaningful reform and that understands the policy failures of the last 8 years, I am hopeful that the new Congress can finally enact legislation consistent with our history as a nation of immigrants."

I was so surprised to learn that, nestled in his comments, was this sentence:

"We must also live up to the goal of family reunification in our immigration policy and join at least 19 other nations that provide immigration equality to same-sex partners of different nationalities."

(You can find the entire statement by using the search feature here: )

After all Sarah and I have been through, all the pain, separation, and expense, there is no way I can express how wonderful it feels to see our plight acknowledged in a formal government forum. So, I won't try.

Bi-national couples have long been the forgotten children of the gay-rights movement. However, we suffer just as much, if not more than the other GLBT Americans who are disadvantaged. We are the ones who are faced with the choice of having to move out of the US or be separated from our family members. The Immigration Equality group has been working hard to promote fairness in immigration for bi-national same-sex couples. I plan to work with them as they educate and lobby members of the US Congress. Please consider supporting them. You can learn more about them here: .

By the way, the nineteen countries that give their citizens' same-sex partners immigration rights are: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

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