By Kerry Eleveld
Originally published on Advocate.com April 29 2010 12:05 PM ET
An outline of a comprehensive immigration reform package circulating on Capitol Hill includes a provision that would allow U.S. citizens and legal residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for residency.
On page 22 of the 26-page document, which could serve as a blueprint for the legislation, the proposal states, "It will eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status."
Steve Ralls, spokesman for Immigration Equality, called the news an "historic step forward" for lesbian and gay binational families.
"The inclusion of key provisions of the Uniting American Families Act in the outline marks the starting point for an inclusive comprehensive immigration reform bill," Ralls said. "Today’s outline shows strong support from key lawmakers for several provisions that are critically important to our community, including ending discrimination against LGBT citizens and their partners, a path to citizenship for the undocumented, and the DREAM Act for undocumented students."
The outline is reportedly an attempt by Democratic leadership to revive the immigration reform effort after GOP senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina dropped out of discussions. Democrats hope the outline will attract another Republican sponsor in order to facilitate introduction of a bipartisan bill.