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Reuniting Families Act- Now I Feel It.

June 22, 2009

As a white male, I haven’t had the experience of dealing with prejudice, racism or sexism that many people face every day. While I certainly try to understand how they feel, I have not been able to really know the struggles of women or people of color because I haven’t experienced it myself.

I have also not truly felt the effects of laws that have been changed or created in order to create more justice for oppressed people. For example, I celebrated the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, but not from the perspective of someone who’s life would be affected personally because of the law. While I know that all laws that promote justice have an impact on the world (and thus impact my life), I have not had the experience of feeling that my life would be made different if a law were passed.

The Reuniting Families Act, recently introduced by Rep. Honda, is changing this for me. This law would allow gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor their immigrant “permanent partners” for legal U.S. residency. As a gay American with an Indian partner, this bill would make a tremendous difference in my life. This has an impact on many more things than I would have previously imagined, all the way from the big question of where my partner and I live down to the mundane details. For example, today my partner is spending the day at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles getting his license renewed because as a foreign national he has to get his license renewed more frequently than citizens or legal residents. He also has to go to the BMV in DC for foreign nationals which normally has a much longer wait than other BMVs. One of the most important differences this would make would be that my partner and I would not have to worry about him getting a work visa in order to stay here. It is extremely unnerving to think that if he lost his job and couldn’t find another employer to sponsor his visa he would be deported to India.

Most importantly, the Reuniting Families Act would be a tremendous step toward the equal rights that gay couples deserve. There is no reason why my partner and I or any other gay couples should be discriminated against because of our sexual orientation. We should all be accorded the same fundamental right to choose our own relationships.

FCNL has taken the lead among faith-based organizations in lobbying for the Reuniting Families Act. I am so thankful to work for an organization that is working for my rights. As a matter of fact, FCNL hosted the press conference with Rep. Honda for the release of the bill. To find out more about the work of FCNL on this issue, check out our immigration blog–“Immigration: It’s Our Community.”

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