Congressman Nadler Introduces Legislation For Lesbian And Gay Binational Couples

"Permanent Partners Immigration Act of 2000" a Valentine's Day present to same-sex binational couples

United States Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) on February 14 introduced legislation that would provide for same-sex couples all the privileges that currently accrue to legal spouses under federal law. Currently U.S. citizens can sponsor their foreign national husbands or wives to immigrate on the basis of the spousal relationship. U.S. citizens in committed relationships with foreigners of the same sex, however, can under no circumstances sponsor their partners, no matter how long the couple has been together nor how committed their relationship.

"This legislation finally brings the United States into line with the 13 other countries that currently provide immigration rights to same-sex partners," said Lavi Soloway, Chair, Board of Directors, Lesbian & Gay Immigration Rights Task Force (LGIRTF). "I applaud Representative Nadler for offering this legislation to change this country's cruel and discriminatory immigration policy."

13 countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and South Africa currently recognize lesbian and gay relationships for immigration purposes.

In cities around the country today, LGIRTF chapters engaged in demonstrations to coincide with the introduction of the bill. In Los Angeles LGIRTF members held a rally and press conference in front of the Federal Building at which performance artist Tim Miller, Charles Lago and Chip Snell (a same-sex binational couple facing deportation proceedings), and several religious leaders spoke. In San Francisco, LGIRTF members and the city's Board of Supervisors held a press conference announcing a resolution that the Board of Supervisors passed unanimously on February 1st that declares San Francisco a refuge for same-sex binational couples.

"In all fifty states today lesbian and gay U.S. citizens spent the day separated from their Valentines," Soloway said. "Passage of this bill would mean these binational couples will be able to spend next Valentine's Day -- and all other days -- together."

The Lesbian & Gay Immigration Rights Task Force (LGIRTF) is the only lesbian and gay immigration organization in the United States. Incorporated in 1994, LGIRTF provides vital legal assistance and a supportive community for lesbian and gay immigrants and their partners, and challenges the discriminatory impact of U.S. immigration law on lesbians, gay men and people with HIV through a program of advocacy and education. Headquartered in New York, LGIRTF has chapters in seven other U.S. cities.

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