Friday, September 11, 2009

California State Assembly Passes AJR 15

by Kathy Drasky

AJR 15, the California State Assembly bill that would make a formal recommendation to Congress and President Obama to make the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) law, passed the full Assembly this week with a 41-28 vote (along party lines).

The idea for this bill came from Out4Immigration's Amos Lim. It was then drafted by Assemblyman Kevin de Leon and a hearing in front of an Assembly committee was put together by Alice Kessler of Equality California (EQCA) in August. Two members of Out4Immigration, Gina Caprio and Melanie Nathan gave compelling testimony which aroused compassion for the bill and shot it quickly out of committee and to a full Assembly vote within just a few weeks.

AJR 15 passed in the Assembly this week by a 41-28 vote. Unfortunately, no Republicans backed this legislation. Sadly, the party that claims to represent "family values" continues to ignore ALL families and not help same-sex binational families overcome the barrier in federal immigration law that does not allow gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor a foreign partner for residency. Current US immigration law only permits opposite-sex couples, whose marriages are recognized federally, to sponsor their spouse in this manner.

Democrats are in the majority in both the California Assembly and the state Senate, which is the next stop for this bill. EQCA's Kessler expects Senate hearings early in 2010.

Should the bill pass in the Senate and receive Governor Schwarzenegger's signature, California, the largest and most populous state in America will be on record calling for the passage of the UAFA and to end immigration discrimination against LGBT people.

Anyone interested in putting forward a bill similar to AJR 15 in their state is encouraged to contact Amos Lim at

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