A Press conference in D.C. on Thursday was attended by Shirley Tan and her family when Mike Honda introduced the Reuniting Families Act. This legislation would, inter alia, extend to “permanent partners” the same naturalization rights accorded to spouses under the bill, allowing gay and lesbian Americans to seek legal residency for their immigrant same-sex partners. Although designed as comprehensive reform, it would include the LBGT community. This would then in effect amount to a merger (if you will) or an absorption, more appro pro of the Uniting American Families Act. I still have to be convinced that from the LGBT standpoint we have not sold ourselves short, due in part to the greater political debate and invalidation of our families by certain groups. If that is the case though I hope UAFA will continue to stand on its own. I can do not better for now than to refer you to this SF Chronicle Article:
Gays push for partner immigration rights by Matthew B. Stannard,Tyche Hendricks, Chronicle Staff Writer on Saturday, June 6, 2009. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/06/05/MNM8181S8O.DTL. Clearly this does open a debate that we may have preferred not to have. But who knows if this will be our make or break strategy? Time and perhaps more outreach and research will provide the answers. Though many in exile who want to come home now woould probably prefer that they be included in strategies that impact their lives in the moment. Rachel Tiven, of Immigration Equality explains her perspective in the article. It would be interesting to know how the strategy was developed, and at whose behest. Also I would be tempted to ask for a revelation of all the players in this behind the scene negotiation, the conultants and the thinking that has got the LGBT community here. I do believe that Rep Nadler who introduced UAFA in the House supports this Reuniting American families Act to include UAFA.
That said, at this point with very little information at hand, all I can do is urge all to consider one word only when deciding whether or not to support this legislation- F A M I L Y..Can I spell it any clearer: This is Family: 1. Old Parents. 2. Young Parents. 3. Children. $. Spouses. 5. Siblings………………………… at the very least – What should not matter is race, gender, sexual orientation, country of birth, religion. We should all have the same rights and that is what AMERICA purports to stand for. Yet we lag on so many different levels because our fellow citizens fail to acknowledge that very easy fact _ F A M I L Y- must be reunified and respected as such regardless of whether doing so increases carbon footprint, increases chances of fraud, or impnges on the religious belief and dogma. Equality and family – that simple!
Any immigrant rights group that has the audacity to state it will rule out comprehensive immigration reform if the LGBT community is included, is distancing itself from a very worthy ally. The gay community has extensive grass root organization and gaining a lot of ground with its political representatives; there is money, there is organization and there is a pasison for civil rights and equality. That said, how can such groups advocate for family and choose which family does or does not have in their respective estimation merit. In this vein I refer to the outpouring of support from the Felipino community who came out in full support of Shirley Tan and her family, regardless of sexual oriebntation – they recognized that this is a F A M I L Y. In supporting FAMILY leave your personal beliefs at the Court of G-d’s judgement and so be it.