LGBT Immigration Bill Reintroduced to a More Receptive Congress 

The Uniting American Families Act was reintroduced in both chambers of Congress Thursday -- chief sponsor Rep. Jerrold Nadler promised the first real push to pass the legislation since he first introduced it in 2000.

BY Kerry Eleveld

February 12 2009 1:00 AM ET

Janet, a British
citizen whose last name has been omitted to protect her
identity, said the situation makes her angry and depressed
at times. “The only way I can be here at the
moment is on a tourist visa, with a maximum of 90
days,” she said. “The rest of the time I go
back to England and I feel like I’m living in
exile, waiting for my life to happen.”

Tiven said the
estimated 37,000 gay binational couples
affected nationwide are not looking for any
loopholes in the immigration system -- they
simply want the opportunity to meet the same standard
of proof that straight couples meet, of which a marriage
certificate is just one element.

“You go
through a whole process in which you show documentation,
you’re interviewed, and you’re proving
that you are a bona fide couple and this is not a
marriage of convenience,” Tiven explained.
“Our couples would love the opportunity to show
the leases and the mortgages, the joint bank accounts,
the children they’re raising, the vacations, and all
the kinds of documentation people have when
they’ve made a life together.”

At least 19
countries currently allow lesbian and gay residents to
sponsor permanent partners for legal immigration, including
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.

Sen. Patrick
Leahy of Vermont, Democratic chairman of the judiciary
committee, introduced a companion bill in the Senate. It had
19 cosponsors last session and will require at least
60 votes to overcome a filibuster.

Tags: Politics

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