Feinstein should support UAFA

  • Wednesday March 13, 2013
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Feinstein should support UAFA

Feinstein should support UAFA

Recently the Uniting American Families Act (H.R. 519 and S. 296) was introduced in the new Congress. If passed and signed into law, UAFA would permit same-sex couples in a permanent relationship to sponsor a partner for a green card. This legislation would end the current discriminatory policies of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and allow same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex couples. The bill calls for simply amending existing U.S. immigration law by adding three words "or permanent partner" wherever the word "spouse" appears.

As Congress undertakes wide ranging reform of current immigration policies, it is an opportunity to end this current discriminatory policy.

The current policy has forced many LGBT citizens into exile to be with the person they love or to stay in the U.S. with an undocumented partner. Thousands of U.S. citizens have gone into exile to be with foreign-born partners, causing unnecessary hardship, separation from other family members and careers, and loss of valuable skills and resources for our country. Others have opted to hide the person they love here and make a go of it with an undocumented partner. This discrimination and limited legal options to keep same-sex relationships unified exacts an enormous emotional, financial, and mental toll, and has devastating and life-altering consequences for same-sex partners. Opposite-sex couples can sponsor a spouse and do not have to resort to such extreme measures to be with the person they love.

This is not the first time legislation ending this discrimination has been introduced. But as in previous years, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) has not co-sponsored the bill. It is important to contact Feinstein now and ask her to change her position, to support and co-sponsor S. 296 as Senator Boxer (D-California) has done for years. To pass in the Senate UAFA will have to get through the Senate Judiciary Committee where Feinstein is a member. Her support for UAFA will be important.

Immigration reform is under way and now is the time to make this policy change. If it does not happen now it is entirely possible it could be decades before Congress takes up changes to immigration policy again. Let Feinstein know same-sex couples deserve the same rights and responsibilities in immigration as opposite-sex couples. Call Feinstein's office " (415) 393-0707 " or email her through her website " www.feinstein.senate.gov " and ask her to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation.

 

Craig Scott

San Francisco

 

UOR belongs in the Castro

Under One Roof was more than a retail store ["UOR switches retail plan," February 28]. I've been a resident of San Francisco since 1979 and my late domestic partner, Robert Baldock, was dedicated to the cause of his employer, Under One Roof. In his memory I donated a large share of his estate and volunteered thousands of hours to UOR since 2001. As UOR moved toward a corporate sponsor approach I offered an alternative, volunteering to solicit donated goods. I also attempted to join the board of UOR but was told that I lacked corporate connections. Both offers were denied.

In spite of these frustrations I continued to volunteer and support the organization hoping that someone enlightened might join the board. The supply of corporate sponsors willing to fund AIDS is dwindling and every dollar belongs directly to the AIDS service organizations.

Upon the announcement that UOR was closing its retail space I sent a letter to the board offering several alternatives. It is a pity that the board decided to abandon us and in doing so it lost the community support it had established since its inception. It provided a heart and soul to the AIDS community. A place for grief and a place of joy in the Castro for those of us who've loved and lost, plus the thousands of dedicated volunteers who helped bring a face to the epidemic that remains a threat to our lives. UOR belongs in the Castro and, as unlikely as it seems, I hope for a speedy return.

 

Paul Margolis

San Francisco