Resolution To Support Gay Binational Couples Heads To California Senate

Categories: LGBT
A resolution supporting the federal bill that would allow gay U.S. citizens to sponsor their partners for a visa passed the California Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday and now heads to the Senate floor for a vote.

Our cover story this week, "Worlds Apart," tells the story of three Bay Area couples whose lives would be changed by the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), a federal bill that allows "permanent partners" to be treated the same as straight spouses in immigration matters. Currently, gay couples have no legal pathway to sponsor their foreign partners to stay in the country.

While the federal UAFA bill is on hold while lawmakers decide whether to include it in the comprehensive immigration reform, California legislators such as Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) introduced a resolution last year urging the U.S. Congress to pass the stand-alone UAFA bill.

Yesterday, the California Senate Judiciary Committee passed the resolution 3-2. Voting In favor were Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), Senator Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), and Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland). Opposed were Senator Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) and Senator Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel).

Melanie Nathan, a Marin-based activist who lobbies in favor of UAFA who we wrote about in this week's story, testified at yesterday's hearing and then ran out after Senator Harman to ask him why he didn't support the resolution. As Nathan then blogged on Lez Get Real, she says she got the brush off.

In other news, the Boston Globe reported this week that federal immigration officials have granted a Brazilian man rare permission to live for a year with his gay partner in Massachusetts on humanitarian grounds. The Brazilian may apply again for permanent residency to stay in the country. Of course, that doesn't help the estimated 35,000 other couples in this situation.

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