Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Uniting American Families Act -- Why Pass the Bill?

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Uniting American Families Act
Legislation history
Bill citation
Bill published on
February 12, 2009
Introduced by
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA, H.R. 1024, S. 424) is a U.S. bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the same manner as spouses of citizens and lawful permanent residents and to penalize immigration fraud in connection with permanent partnerships.[1][2] Section 18 of the bill would be amended to include permanent partnerships as an illegal way to evade any provision of the immigration law and allow for the individual to be imprisoned for no more than five years, fined for up to $250,000 or both.[3] Also, if the partnership ends within two years the sponsored partner’s legal immigrant status would come under review.[4]

  It seems that the bill is stagnant in Congress. They talk DREAM Act constantly, however, what of our DREAMS?  What of the dreams of all of those in the same shoes as we.  Am I not an American with certain rights?  Do I not have the right for the pursuit of happiness along with my heterosexual friends?  Am I less of an American because of my sexual preference?  I am an upright citizen.  I love my country, I pay my taxes and I vote.  I am a Christian and live my life as such.  I am a woman who is in love with a woman.  Does that make me inferior?  Does that make me a horrible person with no rights to love and to be loved?  Why has this been an issue for over ten years?  Why has this bill failed time and time again?  I do not know what else to do but to reach out to Congress, the President, the News people and whoever else will listen.

While Congress breaks for Christmas and goes home to their families, I will not be with my family on Christmas Day.  While Americans sit down with their loved ones for Christmas Dinner, I will be far from my loved ones.  

I am not alone in this.  They estimate that there are 36,000 couples that are in the same shoes as I.  I believe that to be a conservative estimate as I am sure that many, many people did not say that they are with someone who is illegal in the Census ten years ago.

The President says that he must change his own thinking to allow for same sex marriage, this bill is not asking anyone to allow same sex marriage.  It says that if I can prove that this person is my Permanent partner, I can sponsor her.  I believe that I personally have that proof.  

Are we less than human?  Are we nothing in the eyes of the law?  Are we less important than animals?  Currently, we have no rights.  Currently, we are nothing.  Currently, we cannot be with our loved ones.  

So tonight when you snuggle against the one that you love, know that it is illegal for me to do the same.  When you go to your Christmas Parties and kiss under the mistletoe, know that my love is far away from me.  When your children are opening their Christmas presents on Christmas Day, please understand that I will not be with my children on Christmas morning.  Now tell me how is that right?  How is it OK that this American Citizen does not have the right to be with my loved ones? 

I am asking that Congress pass the Uniting American Families Act as soon as possible so that I and those like me, will be able to be with our love ones.  It is what is right.   I would love to quote Representative John Lewis (who is quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.), “The time is always right to do the right thing…”

Do what is right.  Allow us to be with the ones that we love.


  1. Please spread the word:

  2. Thanks for sharing your story and putting the word out there. I'm one half of a binational couple as well - my partner and I are married and living in her home country, Scotland. Like many others I've been inspired by the momentum that has been gathering behind a number of LGBT issues, not least of which is the DADT success signed this week. But I agree that it's been too long since UAFA has made an appearance in Congress.

    I've started a blog about this issue as well -

    Visibility is a key strength to any movement, but particularly relevant to this one. Feel free to keep in touch!!