Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Support Binational Gay Couples TODAY!

Today in Congress there'll be debate on the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would allow American citizens to sponsor their same-sex partners for residency in the United States.

Now, it's easy to think "That doesn't affect me," but the truth is that it does, even if you don't know it. You may have friends who are part of a binational couple, and you are basically guaranteed to have friends of friends in this situation.

I have a couple of friends who live in Durham, Tim and Ed, that are from different countries. Ed's from here, but Tim's from Canada. They've been together for almost 10 years, and they've had to - and still have to! - jump through hoops just for Tim to stay here and work so they can be together.

Straight couples can get married and sponsor their spouse for immigration, but gay couples are totally out of luck (still/again - same old story!). The unfairness and inconsistency of it is maddening!

(Now, part of me thinks, "Hey, they can go to Canada and get married in a civilized manner. And Canada has socialized medicine and hockey. And you get called a Canuck - how cool is that!" Of course, after a little thought I realize, "But Canada is really cold.")

The USA is their home. As a former trailblazer of freedom and equality, our country should have been taking the lead on this, not playing catch up. It's too late for that, which makes it all the more important to do something now so we don't fall further behind.

Every step we can take forward for someone else also takes us, as a community, forward. Even an issue like this, which doesn't affect most of us directly, will affect our friends and people we know, as well as help shape a culture of acceptance and fairness.

The trip to the top of the mountain is made of little steps, one after another, and this is an important one for take. It all adds up.

Check out Immigration Equality for more information on this issue and how you can help.