Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sinking and Swimming: Immigration Reform and Marriage Equality

by Kathy Drasky

Today is a National Day of Action to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Rallies and events may have already started in your part of the country, and for that I apologize for not posting this a little sooner (although all of us volunteers at Out4Immigration have been doing our best to get the word out over the last few weeks.)

Like a lot of you, I've been a little taken aback (well, that's being polite) about hearing that after all the years - all the blood, sweat and tears - same-sex binational couples are probably going to be left out of the historic Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill.

I was hoping that today would be more of a celebration. That marching with our allies in the immigrant rights' community - I'm not aware of any here in San Francisco that want us left out of this legislation - would be more like a walk in the park. After all, our cases against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) have been made in front of the Supreme Court, and we have less than 80 days to go until we know if that will fall. If it does - it pretty much renders the work we've been doing to get same-sex binationals and the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) into CIR at moot point. We won't be needing a bill that gives us just one right. We will have equality that gives us 1,138 rights. We will at last have the right to sponsor our partners for green cards.

But DOMA's demise is not a done deal. Anything can happen in the next 80 days - and one thing we should make sure of is that we call those 54 Senators who say they support marriage equality and demand they step up on our inclusion into CIR. Why? Because if they think so highly of us getting 1,138 rights, why are they not demanding that we'll be insured the one that will stop the endless gratuitous cruelty same-sex binationals live and breathe: the fear that our partner could be taken away from us and deported; the bewildering navigation of an immigration system that refuses to acknowledge we exist; the Sophie's Choice of being forced to pick either your partner or your country.

Does your Senator support Marriage Equality? Click here.

Now call 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your Senator and demand he/she stand up for that claim by making sure same-sex binationals and UAFA are included in CIR. 

I didn't post this sooner because I was publishing the rest of this piece over at OpenSalon. You can click here to read how I feel personally about our exclusion from CIR - and the precarious position we same-sex binationals occupy between immigration reform and marriage equality. It's what I had to get my head around before making a visit this afternoon to one of my senator's local offices on behalf of O4I and today's National Day of Action for Immigration Rights.

Senator Feinstein supports Marriage Equality. I'll be asking (again) for her to make the connection from that broad approach to the more narrow. Because where will be at the end of June if the Supreme Court upholds DOMA and it remains the law of the land?

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