Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
America celebrates her freedoms on the Fourth of July. We raise the flag, remember our history and the sacrifices that others have been made for our rights and liberty.
But for LGBT people the holiday can be bittersweet, especially for those couples who happen to be binational. Unlike heterosexual people who may fall in love across borders, LGBT couples are precluded from marriage in America, so our relationships, regardless of how committed or how long term, carry no weight in the government’s decision whether a non-American may stay here.
We call on our government, specifically the U.S. Congress, to pass the Uniting American Families Act that was recently introduced in the House. This bill would allow American citizens to sponsor their same-sex partners in much the same way that married Americans can sponsor their foreign spouses. It would end the tragic ripping apart of same-sex families that regularly occurs when one partner’s visa is no longer valid. It is a humane, reasonable and just bill, and we call on our federal legislators to champion it through Congress.
We do so knowing that President Bush is no friend to the LGBT community. He has demonstrated a cavalier indifference to the issues that affect us the most. Most recently, Bush has threatened to veto the legislation that funds the City of Washington DC because that city has a domestic partner registry. We have no reason to hope that Bush would hesitate to use his veto power on UAFA, should it arrive on his desk. But maybe, just maybe, he would recognize the injustice, since he seems to have some insight into the plight of “illegal aliens” as a result of our country’s punitive immigration policies.
Other countries allow same-sex partnerships that are binational, such as Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, England, South Africa and Sweden. America should join these nations in expanding freedom. Opponents will argue that this is just one step closer to marriage, and same-sex marriage scares them. We argue that immigration rights are not the same as marriage rights. We also argue that part of being a free society is that we must all learn to live together in peace – not because we are the same, but because we are free.
As we enjoy the holiday, the barbecues, the swimming parties and the outdoor games, remember that our freedoms are at risk. We should take nothing for granted and rights that seem reasonable and logical are still not ours. There remains much work to do, and passage of UAFA is important step in the long process towards full equality for LGBT Americans.