Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. to change the immigration laws to allow gays and lesbians to sponsor their foreign partners for residency. H.R. 1024 and S. 424, known as the Uniting American Families Act, was introduced in Congress by Rep. Jerrold Nadler and in the Senate by Senator Patrick Leahy on 12 February 2009 with 79 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 14 in the Senate.
UAFA represents an opportunity for the U.S. government to recognize the contributions of gay and lesbian Americans and their immigrant families and to treat gays and lesbians as full citizens. UAFA would make a huge difference in the lives of gay and lesbian binational families.
Write your representative
When will the United States will its immigration laws to acknowledge the realities of gay and lesbian families? In just the last few years, over a dozen countries have changed their laws. Countries as diverse as Germany, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil, now recognize gay and lesbian families for immigration purposes.
The U.S. is becoming more and more isolated as one of the few western countries that does not acknowledge committed lesbian and gay relationships.
If you're affected by US policy, and you're bothered, angry, frustrated or have given up that U.S. immigration law will ever change...you can wait and hope for the law to change.
But how about taking a few minutes to put your feelings in a letter.
Let your representative know about your life, and how the current laws affect you, your partner, children, parents, friends, siblings, nieces, nephews, grandparents, grandchildren...all the people who are living without you in their lives on a daily basis.
And how would it be to ask your family and friends to help bring you home by writing to their representatives? You could give your community a chance to support you across all the miles of distance.
Tip: If you are a U.S. citizen living outside of the United States, use your U.S. voting address when writing your letter. Many representatives will not readletters from outside their district or from foreign countries. They need to know that you are a constituent.
Go to the Immigration Equality web site to find out if your representative is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1024 or S. 424.
A letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein
I wrote to my senator. She wrote back and showed that she is aware of the issue: "There are thirteen countries that currently allow sponsorship of homosexual partners and I have asked my staff to review those immigration laws along with the "Permanent Partners Immigration Act of 2001."
8 years later, Senator Feinstein has still not signed on as a UAFA co-sponsor. Her fellow California Senator Barbara Boxer is a UAFA co-sponsor.
Here's my letter: