Immigration Equality

Gay Former GOP Congressman Tells Senate About His Bi-National Relationship

Can Congress be swayed by one of its alumni?

Former Rep. Jim Kolbe, a Republican who came out while serving in Congress, made the trek back to Capitol Hill Monday to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the need to include LGBT protections in the immigration reform bill. It’s personal for Kolbe: he was separated from his partner, Hector Alfonso, because of discriminatory immigration law.

“My partner was born in Panama and came to the United States on a scholarship to pursue [a graduate degree] in special education,” Kolbe testified. “He has been a dedicated teacher for almost two decades. He was…was forced to return to Panama when his visa expired. The separation was painful.”

Kolbe said that he and Alfonso are planning to get married in D.C. next month. (They even have their own website for the wedding.) The thudding irony: Kolbe came out only after he was outed for voting for the Defense of Marriage Act. Seems Jim finally realizes that even he is entitled to full equality.

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