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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  • Caleb in SC

    While I disagree with outing in general, I do agree that, if you are a closet case that works against LGBT people, you reap what you sow. I do not feel one ounce of sympathy for him whatsoever.

  • DarkZephyr

    @Caleb in SC: I still hope he succeeds in this though because a success for him is a success for me and my beloved as well. I too am separated from the one that I love thanks to DOMA. I don’t know what I will do if its not repealed in June or at least LGBT people are included in the Immigration Reform bill.


    Although he has actually harmed the LGBTQ community in the past, hopefully his personal story will make others realize how much discrimination and lack of rights affect same-sex couples.

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