If passed, the immigration reform bill introduced at the beginning of this month by the so-called “Gang of Eight” (4 Republican and 4 Democratic Senators), will bring relief to millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the shadows. But not to one group of would-be immigrants. Gay spouses are not included in the bill because to do so, say the Republicans, would guarantee the bill’s rejection by Congress and spell the end of reform for anyone. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has introduced his own bill that would effectively extend the immigration law to gay couples as well, but the chances of this bill seeing the light of the Senate floor are dim.
That may be, but it sure doesn’t make it right. The current situation that allows US citizen spouses to petition for the immigration of heterosexual but not homosexual spouses is simply inexcusable. The current legal basis for this policy is the Federal Law known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between one man and one woman for the purposes of federal laws – immigration law included. Just recently the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of this law, and if the tea leaves are accurate, may well be inclined to strike it down. If so, this wouldn’t be a minute to soon for thousands of committed gay couples, including the two women profiled in this article.
At the Law Offices of Karyn Schiller we are keeping our fingers crossed that ALL immigrants get a fair chance to legalize their status in this country, gay or straight, black, white or anything inbetween!
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