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Uniting American Families Act
January 19, 2010 5:53 PM   Subscribe

LGBT Immigration Some countries such as Australia and Canada already allow same sex couples to immigrate. In the United States Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has said he will introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill early this year. A window is opening to pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA)....
posted by ginky (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think it's pretty unlikely that comprehensive immigration reform will pass in this environment.
posted by delmoi at 5:59 PM on January 19, 2010


I think it's pretty unlikely that comprehensive immigration reform will pass in this environment.

Which is the perfect time for people with no interest in actually pass them to introduce them and gain some political capital.
posted by qvantamon at 6:11 PM on January 19, 2010


What are the chances the Democrats will consider the "nuclear option" in order to end the filibuster? They won't get another chance this good for reform like this in a long time.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:12 PM on January 19, 2010


What are the chances the Democrats will consider the "nuclear option" in order to end the filibuster?

Zero.

They won't get another chance this good for reform like this in a long time.

And if the Democratic party wasn't the most cowardly, useless spineless bunch of sycophants in the history of governance, they might have been able to take advantage. Instead, we get a Republican-led Congress with a Democratic super-majority.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:17 PM on January 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


Personally, I'm all for this. But for shits and giggles, I think they should go for the trifecta and add a "socialized abortion" clause for GLBT immigrants just to see certain heads explode.
posted by Ufez Jones at 6:18 PM on January 19, 2010


I'm actually invovled in this right now.

BF *might* get a job in the UK within the next year and a half and he's a UK Citizen - we're currently Unmarried (thank you VERY MUCH NY State) but we've been together, at the same residence, for 6 years and I'm on all his employer-provided health stuff, etc. If, magically, we were able to get married in the states, would I be eligible for citizenship in the UK? What if it was a city-level civil union? State-wide? Who recognizes what? What rights do I actually have?


ignoring, of course the frustration and indignity in having to ask what my rights are.
posted by The Whelk at 6:25 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


BF *might* get a job in the UK within the next year and a half and he's a UK Citizen - we're currently Unmarried (thank you VERY MUCH NY State) but we've been together, at the same residence, for 6 years and I'm on all his employer-provided health stuff, etc. If, magically, we were able to get married in the states, would I be eligible for citizenship in the UK?

Marriages between same-sex spouses in other countries are treated as civil partnerships in the UK. I presume you've seen Schedule 20? It's so crazy that there's a mix-and-match approach like this, but it's better than the "screw you same-sex spouses" of current US law.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:51 PM on January 19, 2010


If, magically, we were able to get married in the states

You can get married in Massachusetts--the "you have to live in Massachusetts to get married there" thing (which was a law originally created to stop opposite-gender interracial couples marrying in Massachusetts when it was illegal in their home states, bleagh) was repealed in July of 2008.

No magic involved! Just a trip to Massachusetts.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:56 PM on January 19, 2010


The Whelk, are you actually asking? You should be eligible for a UK visa as long as you can prove you two have been partners for over two years. link
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:06 PM on January 19, 2010


The Whelk, what I meant is - I wasn't certain if you need info, or are just expressing frustration. You guys should be fine. The hard part is getting your UK partner a visa in the US.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:17 PM on January 19, 2010


I came to Australia in '94 on an interdependency visa. I'm from the states and my partner's visa allows for three months per year in the US. We aren't able to live there together legally. We can't just spend a year or two there, or move there. I'm grateful for the activists in Australia who pushed through the interdependency visa category years and years ago but I don't understand why we can't do the same thing in the US. People seem to say it's just too hard, why bother.
I often think that the Gay Marriage thing may have derailed some important single issue causes for LGBT people by making it about Morality instead of civil rights.
We can get married in some states, like Massachusettes, but the federal government doesn't recognise that union for immigration purposes.
posted by ginky at 7:31 PM on January 19, 2010


From ginky's link above:

July 2009 saw the final parts of the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws – General Law Reform) Act 2008 come into operation. These significant changes in legislation included redefining the meaning of "de facto partner” to include the words “whether of the same sex or a different sex”.

Holy crap, how did they manage to pass that unnoticed? I don't remember a single thing about it in the media at the time, and a google news search on the legislation name returns a whopping 3 results.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:58 PM on January 19, 2010


Ubu, some of my more cynical friends think this is a way for the fed. gov to save a bit of money .
posted by ginky at 8:04 PM on January 19, 2010


Immigration rights for gay couples has significant advantages for national security because China and Islam are both extremely hard upon homosexuals. As an aside, Europe could help integrate their Islamic minorities by highly prioritizing sexual orientation refugees above economic refugees.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:00 PM on January 19, 2010


The Whelk, what I meant is - I wasn't certain if you need info, or are just expressing frustration. You guys should be fine. The hard part is getting your UK partner a visa in the US.

I am asking cause there is a good (well 60%) chance that This May Be An Issue within a year and I want to know all my options. had no idea about the Mass. repeal, which is good news, and BF doesn't need a Visa, I think? He's a long, long time Green Card holder-Permanent Resident Alien who is applying now for jobs back in his home country (UK) and wanting to know if we got totally civil unioned, would the UK treat it as a marriage so all the taxes and rights and visiting and inheritance and passports and property and the crap people take for granted be honored or what? The inheritance is a big thing cause he's got a complicated, international estate and I have some oddball US royalty stuff around my will and being Married makes the whole thing less of a complete legal tooth pulling. Plus, insurance.
posted by The Whelk at 9:10 PM on January 19, 2010


I don't quite see why the fpp focuses just on a part of immigration reform. we need all of it reformed. I say this as someone who has tried winning the greencard lottery ten times.
posted by krautland at 9:16 PM on January 19, 2010


Just went in for new employee orientation for a Federal job today. The section on harassment made it specifically clear that there is absolutely no prohibition against harassing a fellow employee or subordinate for his or her sexual orientation.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:43 PM on January 19, 2010


Gays from other states have always been able to get married in Iowa.
posted by delmoi at 10:32 PM on January 19, 2010


Jimmy Havok wrote: Just went in for new employee orientation for a Federal job today. The section on harassment made it specifically clear that there is absolutely no prohibition against harassing a fellow employee or subordinate for his or her sexual orientation.

Umm what?
Can you tell us what they said exactly?

"This is a woman. Don't make fun. This is a black man. Don't make fun. This is a homo. Poke them with a stick."
posted by Theta States at 8:40 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Appendix B, page 8 of my training manual:
...discrimination based on sexual orientation is not covered by the No FEAR Act...the Department addresses these complaints under DAO 215-11...:
"Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate against federal employees because of their marital status..."
In other words, you can't harass someone for being single or in a gay marriage, but otherwise, the gloves are off.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:05 PM on January 20, 2010


Appendix B, page 8 of my training manual:
...discrimination based on sexual orientation is not covered by the No FEAR Act...the Department addresses these complaints under DAO 215-11...:
"Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate against federal employees because of their marital status..."
In other words, you can't harass someone for being single or in a gay marriage, but otherwise, the gloves are off.


Um... Yeah. Have you read the Commerce department's own document on Sexual Orientation Discrimination, [PDF link] easily located by googling "DAO 215-11"?

It pretty clearly states
Executive Order 13087, issued on May 28, 1998, amended Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government, to include sexual orientation as a prohibited basis of discrimination. This reaffirmed the Executive Branch’s longstanding internal policy that prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation within Executive Branch civilian employment. The Order is also in accord with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) interpretation of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, a federal law that prohibits discrimination in certain employment decisions when the decisions are based upon conduct that does not adversely affect employee performance.
amongst other things.

That No FEAR training document, also located through Google, seems to refer to many mechanisms through which formal complaints can be made about workplace discrimination and harassment.

While I feel sympathy for anyone entering a workplace which may have intolerance for one's sexual orientation, I'm not sure any workplace covered by DAO 215-11 falls into that category.
posted by hippybear at 1:26 PM on January 20, 2010


@ The Whelk - My Fiancé is also a UK Citizen, and we're thinking of moving there. Here's a better site with every bit of information you'll need. And heck, why not get married while you're there? Then you can have dual nationality too ;)
posted by empatterson at 1:26 PM on January 20, 2010


What hippybear said, and here's the full text of Executive Order 11478 (html).
posted by desjardins at 1:29 PM on January 20, 2010


Since I am working for the Commerce Department, I find it interesting that my orientation gives the deliberate impression that sexual orientation is not a protected class, despite the policy you located. I'm of two minds on that, on the one hand it's a warning to those who might find themselves harassed if they don't keep it on the DL, on the other hand it's a go-ahead to those who would do the harassing...well, not quite two minds, more like one and a half.

Incidentally, No FEAR dates to 2002.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:26 PM on January 20, 2010


I imagine that New Zealand allows same sex partners the same rights as opposite sex ones for immigration, given same sex partners can get a civil union here (same rights as being married except available to same or opposite sex couples) and same sex de facto relationships are treated the same as opposite sex ones (live together two years in 'marriage like relationship' and you're in a legal de facto relationship even if you don't want to be). I had a look on the immigration website but it just says 'partner' and doesn't specify gender, but then that might be the point.

I've always wondered how other countries treat NZ based civil unions given it's different from, but supposedly the same legal rights as, being married. Really the only difference is that same sex couples can't get married while any couple can get a civil union (assuming they're not related and whatever), so maybe other countries would treat it differently depending on the gender of the couple in question. Either way I'm sticking with the long term de facto since it works for any country we're currently looking at moving to.
posted by shelleycat at 1:04 AM on January 21, 2010


Oh actually, I found it. The NZ immigration regulations specifically say the partner can be opposite or same sex (works both for kiwis bringing a foreign partner in or families moving here together). So that's kind of nice.

More countries should have rules like ours. Our rules, uh, rule.
posted by shelleycat at 1:11 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


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