Join GetEQUAL, Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) and many other organizations on Valentine's Day at actions around the country dedicated to raising awareness about the need for equal rights for ALL Americans, including the rights of same-sex binational couples.
In San Francisco, O4I members will be meeting at the left side of the steps to City Hall (facing Civic Center) at 11 am.
Click here to see other actions around the country.
Wherever you are, please join these actions if you can. Wear your O4I t-shirt if you have one. Bring a sign that says "Pass the UAFA! Equal Immigration Rights for Same-Sex Couples."
And be prepared to talk to the press. Here are some simple talking points:
ABOUT THE UNITING AMERICAN FAMILIES ACT
The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) is legislation that will add three words to federal immigration law – the words “or permanent partner” wherever the word “spouse” appears.
That’s because the US federal government does not recognize same-sex couples and our relationships – at any level. Even if we are legally married in a state or country that fully recognizes us. Even if we have entered into a Civil Union or are Domestic Partners.
I am an American citizen and I have been with my partner who is from _______________ for ______ years.
Because America does not recognize my relationship, even though I am (married, in a Civil Union, in a Domestic Partnership), I can’t sponsor my partner for a green card.
If we were straight, the government would recognize our relationship and we could get a green card. That would make our life so much easier!
(Please use discretion when talking about your personal situation, do not say anything you do not want the whole world to know. These are just some samples)
• Instead, my partner is on a visa that will expire soon and we will have to leave the country.
• Instead, my partner and I have to live apart and he/she has trouble entering the US – even on a tourist visa for a limited amount of time. We often don’t how long we will be apart, or when we will see each other again.
• Instead, my partner and I have had no choice but to be a part of the more than 12 million undocumented people living in the US, greatly relying on our government to fix the broken immigration system and help us.
I know, it’s hard to believe that the US would treat its own citizens like this! But there are more than 36,000 same-sex binational couples currently caught up in having to choose between our country and our partner. What would you do?
What you can do is support the quick reintroduction of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). This bill will be reintroduced in Congress this spring by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. You can sign a petition to show your support at Out4Immigration.org
Repeal of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) would also help us. The right to sponsor your partner for immigration purposes is one of the 1,138 federal rights and protections we can’t obtain because the US treats gay and lesbian couples as “legal strangers.”
This is a terrible injustice to all Americans – but when it comes to same-sex binational couples, we are the only group that is being forced to choose between our country and the person we love.
The fastest way to change this is UAFA. Just three words – one right.
One of 1,138. But one big one – the right to stay in my country with my permanent partner – the person I love. My spouse.
Please visit Out4Immigration.org and support equal immigration rights for same-sex binational couples.