Main | Monday, May 03, 2010

Controversial Biometric ID Immigration Bill Also Includes Rights For Gay Couples

Somewhat overlooked in Friday's furor over the Democrats' biometric ID proposal was the fact that the bill also slips in immigration rights for the partners of gay U.S. citizens. Christianists have picked up on that and are, of course, outraged.
Not surprisingly, the move has been hailed by gay rights groups and condemned by Catholics. "Today's inclusive framework is an historic step forward for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender binational families," said the executive director of Immigration Equality, a group that advocates for binational gay and lesbian couples. But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged lawmakers not to include such language when they write legislation. "While we support the general direction of the framework .... we strongly oppose extending marriage-like immigration benefits to same-sex relationships," the bishops said in a statement. "This proposal threatens to undermine the opportunity to bring together the Congress and the American people around a common solution to the important challenge of immigration reform."
The bill includes key provisions of the Uniting American Families Act. The pertinent section of the bill reads (in part): "The proposal will eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status." It's unclear from the linked story how "permanent partners" would be defined under this bill.

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