Senator Arlen Specter Remembered by Lesbian Activist at hearings on UAFA

WATCH VIDEO – Senator Arlen Specter’s service included solicitude and action for same-sex couples denied green cards.

By Melanie Nathan, October 15, 2012.

It is with great sadness that I note the passing of Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania today.  While I thought I could never forgive him for his interrogation of Anita Hill, I grew to like and admire him over time and then when I had the opportunity to meet him.  My feelings evolved in tandem with his evolution on the issue of civil and human rights for gay and lesbian Americans seeking parity under the immigration law.

WAPO:-” Arlen Specter, a pugnacious and prominent former moderate in the U.S. Senate who developed the single-bullet theory in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and played starring roles in Supreme Court confirmation hearings, lost a battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma at a time when Congress is more politically polarized than anyone serving there — or living in America — can remember.

Specter, 82, died Sunday, after spending much of his career in the U.S. Senate warning of the dangers of political intolerance. President Barack Obama ordered U.S. flags at the White House and other public buildings flown at half-staff Tuesday, the day of Specter’s funeral.

For most of his 30 years as Pennsylvania’s longest-serving U.S. senator, Specter was a Republican, though often at odds with the GOP leadership. His breaks with his party were hardly a surprise: He had begun his political career as a Democrat and ended it as one, too. READ MORE OBIT

I met Senator Specter back in 2009, at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for the United American Families Act,  which I attended with my advocacy client, Shirley Tan, who gave evidence.   The invitation came after we succeeded in obtaining the introduction of a rare Private Bill from Senator Feinstein to keep Shirley Tan, lesbian partner and mom of American twins, from being deported back to Philippines.

He notes in 2009 how dramatically attitudes had changed toward marriage equality. He notes that he has evolved from his vote for DOMA. In 2009 Arlen Specter mentions in this UAFA hearing Video about the “evolution ” of President Obama on same-sex marriage equality, long before the term was fashionable amongst activists and politicians.  You will also note that Julian Bond answers questions and speaks to the issue of evolution in marriage equality.

Although I am a proponent of full equality and the Senator may have fallen short on the issue, I will always be grateful to Senator Specter and remember him fondly for this…… WATCH VIDEO BELOW.

In reviewing the video I just noticed myself peering out  behind Julian Bond, while reminded of the Senator’s sense of humor which can be seen at the end.

Note: UAFA has still not passed the USA Congress and Binational same-sex couples who wish to live in America  have little to no remedies to help their situations.


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