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California's Passage of Proposition 8 Setback for Same-Sex Binational Couples
by Kathy Drasky ( kathy [at] out4immigration.org )
Thursday Nov 6th, 2008 4:39 PM
Out4Immigration Says Amendment to Ban Same-Sex Marriage Underscores Need for Passage of Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) to Grant Same-Sex Binational Couples Equal Immigration Rights
• Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative to amend the state’s constitution and end same-sex marriage, has stopped California’s freedom to marry law that included all couples, gay or straight, by some 400,000 votes.
• The California Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in California in May 2008; nearly 20,000 same-sex couples were legally married between June 17 and November 4.
• Civil rights’ groups, cities and counties file lawsuits challenging amendment as unconstitutional.
• Same-sex binational couples caught in cross-fire – need federal recognition of LGBT relationships or passage of Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) to end immigration discrimination that forces many into exile.
• Yes on 8 campaign says the constitutional amendment “doesn’t discriminate or take rights away from anyone. Gay and lesbian domestic partnerships will continue to enjoy the same legal rights as married spouses. Our coalition has no plans to seek any changes in that law.”
• Out4Immigration calls for the Yes on 8 campaign to explain how gays and lesbians in domestic partnerships are not discriminated against when they cannot obtain the same federal rights as married couples – including immigration rights.

Synopsis
Californians passed Proposition 8 by some 400,000 votes. The proposition immediately amends the state’s constitution and puts a stop to the same-sex marriages that have been legally performed in the state since June. Nearly 20,000 same-sex couples took advantage of the law, and will remain legally married. While Out4Immigration members in California and around the world have worked hard to defeat Proposition 8, same-sex marriage in California and other states and countries like Canada, Spain and The Netherlands does not help same-sex binational couples in the US. The US prohibits same-sex marriages from being recognized at the federal level. This keeps same-sex couples from obtaining 1,138 federal rights that come with marriage. One of these is the right of an American citizen to sponsor their foreign spouse for a green card. Because same-sex binational couples are denied this right, many gay and lesbian Americans in love with a foreign partner are forced to live in exile with their partner if their partner cannot obtain a visa or green card through other channels. The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) would change federal immigration law to allow gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor their foreign partners for green cards.

Quotes from Mickey Lim, Vice President, Out4Immigration
Mickey is an American citizen who lives in San Francisco with his partner who is from Singapore and their 10-month old daughter. After many years of struggle, Mickey’s partner obtained a green card through work. Had the green card not come through, the couple would have been forced to leave the country, instead, they co-founded Out4Immigration.

“Out4Immigration emphasizes the need for recognition of same-sex relationships at the federal level. State laws like the one in California that allow same-sex marriage are invalid at the federal level. They are also subject to misinformation and bigotry that can result in ugly ballot initiatives like Proposition 8 that take away rights.”

“Out4Immigration calls on the Yes on 8 campaign, which has issued a statement claiming that this proposition is not meant to discriminate against anyone, and that gays and lesbians have all the same rights as married couples under domestic partnership law, to explain why, then, are we denied 1,138 federal rights that come with word marriage? Why then are gay and lesbian Americans not allowed to sponsor their domestic partner for a green card?”

“We see this bigotry in California as a call to bring the LGBT community together to work for legislation that will end discrimination, period. The repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passage of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) – this is the type of action that is needed to protect all families in America.”

Related News Links:

• Prop 8 Opponents Concede (Bay Area Reporter, 11/6/08): http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=3471
• Civil Rights Groups Challenge Prop 8 in Court (San Jose Mercury News, 11/5/08) http://www.mercurynews.com/elections/ci_10906871
• National Center for Lesbian Rights: California Will Continue to Honor Marriages of Same-Sex Couples Who Married Before the Possible Passage of Prop 8 (11/5/08): http://www.nclrights.org/site/PageServer?pagename=press_marriagesvalid110508
• Yes on 8: Statement of Proposition 8 Passing by Ron Prentice (11/5/08): http://www.protectmarriage.com/blog/2008/11/statement-on-proposition-8-passing-by-ron-prentice/


About Out4Immigration:

Out4Immigration is a grassroots organization based in San Francisco that addresses the widespread discriminatory impact of US immigration laws on the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV+ people and their families through education, outreach, advocacy and the maintenance of a resource and support network. For more information, visit http://www.out4immigration.org. To schedule interviews with same-sex binational couples who are available to speak with the media on this issue, including Spanish-speaking couples, please contact Amos Lim, amos [at] out4immigration.org, 415-375-3765 or Kathy Drasky at kathy [at] out4immigration.org, 415-606-2085.

For more information on legislation, reports, etc. related to same-sex binational couples:
The Uniting American Families Act (H.R. 2221): http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR02221:
The Uniting American Families Act (S.1328): http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:SN01328:
Human Rights Watch Report: Family Unvalued: Discrimination, Denial, and the Fate of Binational Same-Sex Couples under US Law: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2006/us0506/

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