Representative Jerrold Nadler and Senator Patrick Leahy took some time to reintroduce The Uniting American Families Act today. Yet another attempt to bring queers into the maintstream political fold, the act will allow same-sex partners to sponsor their international lover’s American stay.
Under current law, gays and lesbians must apply for temporary visas and are often denied reentry into the United States— a heartbreaking reality Argentinian director Sebastian Cordoba highlighted in his film Through Thick and Thin.
Speaking to his political peers in the House of Representatives, Nadler explained the act in the most human of terms:
Our bill recognizes that American families come in all shapes and sizes… Our laws should work to keep loving families together and not tear them apart. This is a matter of basic fairness and compassion. I am proud to work with Senator Leahy on this issue. We simply ask that gay and lesbian Americans in loving, committed relationships receive the same treatment as everyone else.
Leahy, meanwhile, hit the nail on the head, “Our immigration laws treat gays and lesbians in committed relationships as second-class citizens; this injustice needs to change.”
If passed, the act will add “permanent partner” to the government’s immigration form. This new category describes persons who are in a steady relationship which “both parties intend a lifelong commitment”
Opponents of the law may argue that individuals can simply lie about being in a relationship – an argument the lawmakers predicted and attempted to defuse by laying out strict punishments:
…If a person is found to have entered into a fraudulent permanent partnership for the purposes of obtaining a visa for another person, they will be subject to the same five year maximum imprisonment, or $250,000 maximum fine, or both, as a person who contracts a fraudulent marriage would.
That sounds reasonable to us.