By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com February 15 2003 12:00 AM ET
Using Valentine's Day as a backdrop, U.S. representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Friday reintroduced the Permanent Partners Immigration Act in the 108th Congress, which would help countless numbers of gay and lesbian partners in binational relationships remain together. The most prominent feature of the legislation would allow those U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who are in a permanent partnership to sponsor their partners for immigration purposes, just as any legal spouse would. Currently, because there is no legally recognized marriage between gay and lesbian couples under the immigration law, many permanent binational partnerships are torn apart when one partner moves to the United States.
"My bill is simply a matter of common sense and fairness," Nadler said. "Why do we allow the government to tear apart committed and loving couples just because of who they love? The answer is that there is no excuse for this gratuitous cruelty, and my bill would correct that."
The Permanent Partners Immigration Act would add the phrase "or permanent partner" to those sections of the Immigration and Naturalization Act that apply to legally married couples. For purposes of the bill, "permanent partner" is described as "an individual 18 years of age and over who: is in a committed, intimate relationship with another individual 18 years of age and over in which both parties intend a lifelong commitment; is financially interdependent with that other individual; is not married or in a permanent partnership with anyone other than that other individual; is unable to contract with that other individual a marriage cognizable under [the Immigration and Naturalization Act]; and is not a first, second, or third degree blood relation of that other individual."