No same-sex immigration reform

Gay and lesbian unions hold no sway when it comes to U.S. immigration policies.


Rebecca Traister
September 26, 2006 7:47PM (UTC)

There's an interesting piece in Women's eNews this morning about the fact that in the midst of major immigration reform, no changes are being proposed to the United States' policies on same-sex couples. While a spouse in a heterosexual union can sponser his or her foreign-born partner, the same does not hold true for lesbian and gay couples, even if the couples have had a marriage ceremony or are in a civil union, and even if they have children.

That means that binational couples, regardless of how long they've been together or how committed their union, have no security in knowing that they will not be separated because of citizenship issues. According to Women's eNews, this -- surprise! -- puts the U.S. behind parts of the rest of the world. Nineteen other countries recognize lesbian, gay, and bisexual and transgender couples when it comes to immigration status. Advocates estimate that around 40,000 same-sex couples in the U.S. are affected by unstable immigration status.

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Barbara Thomas, whose British-born partner, with whom she is raising two children, remains in constant immigration jeopardy, tells Women's eNews, "It's discrimination ... It's discrimination against lesbians, it's discrimination against same-sex couples and it's discrimination against our families. We should be able to be together like everybody else."


Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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