Immigration Law Denies Equal Protection For Same-Sex Life Partners

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Linda Paris, (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org 

Immigration Law Denies Equal Protection For Same-Sex Life Partners

Legislation Is Needed To Bring U.S. In-Line With Other Democracies

WASHINGTON -  The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on a bill that modifies U.S. immigration law to provide equal protection to same-sex life partners of citizens and permanent legal residents. As part of the hearing, entitled "The United American Families Act: Addressing Inequality in Federal Immigration Law," the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to lawmakers urging the Committee to pass S. 424, "Uniting American Families Act."

Currently, same-sex partners of U.S. citizens and permanent residents are denied the same rights as married heterosexual couples. Consequently, gay citizens and permanent residents are barred from activities such as sponsoring their foreign partners for permanent residency. U.S. immigration law lags behind the immigration laws of many other democracies that permit equal sponsorship protections including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The following can be attributed to Joanne Lin, ACLU Legislative Counsel:

"U.S. immigration policies lag behind other democracies in extending fair treatment of gay couples. Right now, 18 other countries provide equal protection to partners of gay and lesbian citizens.

"As a result of discriminatory U.S. immigration laws, American families, including U.S. citizen children, are being torn apart permanently. The Uniting American Families Act will fix this patently discriminatory injustice."

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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