More Light Presbyterians is proud to join with other faith organizations to support the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). UAFA would allow a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their same gender partner for immigration to the U.S., a right which is currently denied. According to the 2010 U.S. Census data, over 36,000 couples are affected by this discrimination and 46% of them are raising children.
The Advocate recently posted an op-ed by a couple impacted by these discriminatory laws. Brandon Perlberg writes, “I was made to choose between living my life in the country that I love or moving to England and living it with the person that I love. I chose the latter.”
My partner and I are the lucky ones. That characterization is hard for me to accept, when my displacement meant leaving the home that I own, separating from family and lifelong friends, and ending a career as an attorney in New York that I worked extremely hard to develop. For 11 long months following my arrival in the U.K., I was unemployed and burned through savings that took me years to amass. In the name of “the defense of marriage,” our lives and livelihoods were taken from us. The painful irony is that the respect for our commitment that we embraced in leaving the U.S. is the very value that makes the defense of marriage worthwhile.
But my partner and I are still the lucky ones. There are many binational same-sex couples who don’t have the opportunity to start a new life together in another country. Long-standing committed relationships have been torn apart. Homes have been lost. People have been thrown into financial ruin. Children have been separated from parents that love them. In short, thousands of lives have been unjustly turned upside down. And for what conceivable benefit? …
In reality, immigration equality for gay people isn’t hard. It’s common sense. It’s about law-abiding foreigners and the Americans who love them. It’s not about providing same-sex couples with a short cut to a Green Card, but rather giving them a shot at getting one. It’s about keeping Americans in America. And it’s about strengthening and uniting families, values that are American to the core.
Five married, same gender binational couples filed a law suit against DOMA at the beginning of April. “They allege that the 1996 law, deemed unconstitutional and unworthy of further court defense in 2011 by the Obama administration, violates their equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution.”
We also stand in solidarity with the coalition of progressive organizations rallying for immigration reform in Washington, DC on April 10. “There are nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States,” writes the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, “including at least 267,000 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Under our broken immigration system, they are forced to live in hiding, spending every day fearful that they will be discovered, sent into detention, and separated from their families, possibly forever.”
This Center for American Progress video includes an appearance by Jose Antonio Vargas. Vargas was recently honored at Creating Change for his leadership on immigration reform.