The Human Rights Campaign joined a coalition of organizations
at a press conference on February 14th for the introduction of a bill in Congress that
would provide same-sex partners of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent
residents the same immigration rights legal spouses of U.S. residents enjoy.
“This bill will help end the unjust and cruel separation of
families,” says HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. “We applaud
Congressman Nadler for taking this initiative and recognizing that
immigration law is supposed to be based on protecting families and not
tearing them apart based on sexual orientation.”
The Permanent Partners Immigration Act, sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler,
D-N.Y., would modify the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to include
lesbian and gay families.
Currently, U.S. immigration law does not allow lesbian and gay citizens or
permanent residents to petition for their same-sex partners to immigrate.
Approximately seventy-five percent of the one million green cards or
immigrant visas issued each year go to family members of U.S. citizens and
permanent residents. However, those excluded from the INA’s current
definition of family include same-sex partners, unmarried heterosexual
couples and other family members.
Each year, current law forces thousands of lesbian and gay couples to break
up or live in constant fear of deportation. In some cases, partners of
lesbians and gays face prosecution by the Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS), hefty fines and deportation. United States citizens are
sometimes left with no other choice but to migrate with their partner to a
nation whose immigration laws recognize their relationship.
Fourteen countries, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France,
Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden
and the United Kingdom recognize lesbian and gay couples for the purposes of
The New York-based Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force, an
organization addressing the widespread discriminatory impact of immigration
laws on lesbians and gays, anticipates same-sex binational couples will have
to meet the same requirements as married couples do. Last year, the
Permanent Partners Immigration Act quickly garnered the support of nearly 60
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