Monday, January 18, 2010

An International Issue: LGBT Couples

Happy MLK Day, All!

Please take a moment today to reflect on the efforts of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., including not just his great work for racial justice but also what he did for social justice.

He said, "The revolution for human rights is opening up unhealthy areas in American life and permitting a new and wholesome healing to take place. Eventually the civil rights movement will have contributed infinitely more to the nation than the eradication of racial injustice. It will have enlarged the concept of brotherhood to a vision of total interrelatedness."

Also, let's not forget that one of his main advisors, Bayard Rustin, was gay. This refrain is a standard trope for the LGBT movement, but that's simply because it's true.

Finally, be sure to remember his wife, Coretta Scott King, who was a tireless advocate for fairness and justice for LGBT folks, including marriage equality.

On a different note, over the weekend, I found two of my bear friends are splitting up. They've been a couple for years and years.

No, they're not becoming single - they're still a couple. One of them is Canadian, and his visa is not being renewed. He has to move out of the country for a year.

Now, they're making plans to make this work. The one who's a US citizen is planning regular visits to Canada, and the one who's leaving is lucky that his job is willing to hold his position while he's gone.

Still, this situation is so unfair. Imagine having to unsettle your entire life for a year, moving away from your job and partner, your friends and home.

If they could get married, this wouldn't happen. Every day, more than 36,000 lesbian and gay families are impacted every day by discriminatory immigration policies.

A simpler, and much more likely to be timely solution, is simply immigration reform that includes LGBT families. For more information about this important issue and information on how to take action, go to Immigration Equality's page about the Uniting American Families Act.

It won't help them now, but it could be a big help for them - and thousands of others - in the future. You never know what's going to happen in life. Who knows, immigration reform may critically change your life, if not directly then through your friends and family.

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