Volume 75, Number 5 | June 22- 28, 2005

Nadler reintroduces act for partner immigration; G.O.P. stands in way

On Tuesday, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler proposed an amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act, The Uniting American Families Act, to allow for U.S citizens to sponsor their permanent partners’ residence in the U.S. The modification of the immigration act would also extend the current immigration law’s definition of a family to not only include legal spouses of U.S citizens but also introduce the term “permanent partner.” Currently the Defense of Marriage Act limits the term “spouse” to heterosexual married partners. Vermont Democrat Senator Pat Leahy will introduce the Senate version of the bill.

The bill, formerly known as the Permanent Partnership Immigration Act, is coming up before a conservative Republican Congress.

“Keeping loving families separated is gratuitous cruelty that serves no constructive purpose,” Nadler said. “This bill only demands that those people in same-sex permanent partnerships receive equal treatment as everyone else — not an iota more.”

Nadler has sponsored similar legislation twice before, in 2000 and 2004. Each time, the bill has achieved more support but has failed to win a majority of Congress. Nadler has 53 co-sponsors while Leahy had nine co-sponsors at the time of the introduction of the bill. So far, one Republican has offered to sponsor the bill.

According to Immigration Equality, a same-sex immigration rights advocacy group, in the 2000 census, 6 percent — or 36,000 — of the nearly 600,000 people counted as same-sex “unmarried partners” in the U.S included one citizen and one noncitizen. Currently 16 countries, including several in Northern Europe, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, allow residents to sponsor same-sex unmarried partners for legal immigration.

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