Thursday, July 15, 2010

Truly Inclusive Immigration Reform Must End Discrimination against LGBT Families

Today, key members of Congress stood in unity to call on their colleagues to support passage of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) as part of any future immigration reform effort. Tens of thousands of LGBT binational families are counting on this critically important legislation in order to achieve the most basic equality: The freedom to be with their families, and the people they love.

FCNL joined fellow coalition members from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), immigrants’ rights, civil rights and faith communities in issuing a statement for the news conference. The statement reads, in part, "Today, leaders made clear that all future immigration legislation must be truly inclusive, and we are proud to stand with them in that call. We are committed to working, together, for this long overdue and much-needed victory and to honoring our country’s commitment to families and its rich history as a nation of immigrants."

Reps. Nadler (NY), Honda (CA), Gutierrez (IL), Polis (CO) and Quigley (IL) participated in this important news conference. For more information, read Immigration Equality's press release.

As my colleague Bill Mefford, director of Civil and Human Rights for the General Board of Church and Society with The United Methodist Church, said recently:
“Just as Jesus did not set any preconditions on identifying himself with, and loving, the sojourner, so too does he call all who claim to follow him to love and welcome the sojourner without moral preconditions... To demand the right to prophetically challenge the nation to incorporate hospitality into our immigration policy, but then to work to exclude some people based on their sexual orientation, is to lose the moral basis for making that prophetic challenge. We want immigration reform that is just and humane, and that is truly comprehensive and truly moral.”
Immigration reform will only truly be comprehensive when all families, including LGBT families, are included. We welcome the commitment by these members of Congress to work to ensure that binational LGBT families will no longer be locked out of the U.S. immigration system.

Rep. Honda discusses his bill, the Reuniting Families Act.

Rep. Honda states, "The President has called on Congress to address immigration reform, and I stand ready to heed that call and support an effort that is inclusive of LGBT families."

Rep. Polis insists, "We must provide all domestic partners and married couples the same rights and obligations in any immigration legislation."

Rep. Quigley reminds us, "Our march in the direction of progress and justice for families across this country cedes its moral high ground unless we say to say to LGBT families that this is their movement, too."

We listen as Rep. Gutierrez says, "We should modernize our laws to facilitate legal immigration so that we keep families together and individuals do not have to twist themselves in knots to conform to our outdated laws." I had no idea Rep. Honda was right behind me!

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