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Los Angeles city council supports binational gay couples

Los Angeles city council supports binational gay couples

Gays and lesbians in the United States should be allowed to sponsor their foreign-born partners for residency, says a resolution unanimously passed by the Los Angeles city council on Thursday. The vote to urge Congress to pass the Permanent Partners Immigration Act makes Los Angeles the largest city in the nation to take such a position. "No one deserves special rights because they happen to love the right person," said council member Eric Garcetti, who introduced the resolution. "Because of inequalities in our immigration laws, gay men and lesbians in committed relationships are separated and treated as second-class citizens. The Permanent Partners Immigration Act would provide same-sex couples with the immigration rights currently enjoyed by married couples." According to a report by City News Service, current immigration law allows citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor spouses and family members for immigration to the United States. Doug Haxall of Immigration Equality, an organization that works for the cause, told council members many gay couples live under the constant threat of foreign-born partners being deported when their visas expire. "Los Angeles is a city of great diversity. We have citizens from all walks of life--gays and lesbians, many immigrants--and our city more than most is impacted by current immigration law," he said. Sixteen countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, and the United Kingdom, recognize same-sex couples for immigration purposes, Haxall said. The PPIA was first introduced in February 2000 by Democratic congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York. It currently has 123 cosponsors in the House of Representatives (29 from California), and 12 in the Senate, including Sen. Barbara Boxer. Earlier this year the California state assembly passed AJR 60, a resolution urging passage of the PPIA introduced by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber. The resolution passed by a vote of 42-31.

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