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California Assembly To Hear Testimony On Resolution Supporting Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).

8/14/09 – by Melanie NathanTan, Melanie Nathan, Car

The California Assembly Judiciary Committee will be hearing testimony on AJR 15, a California resolution to support the federal Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).

The resolution, introduced by Assembly Member Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and co-sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality (AACRE), formally requests that the US Congress pass and that President Barack Obama sign the Uniting American Families Act. Under current federal law, American citizens are permitted to sponsor an opposite-sex spouse. LGBT partners do not have the same right and are specifically excluded even if married under State law, sue to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA which defines marriage as between a man and a woman only. The UAFA would extend this basic right to committed same-sex couples, who can prove they are in a committed relationship.

More specifically, the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA, H.R. 1024, S. 424) is a U.S. bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the same manner as spouses of citizens and lawful permanent residents and to penalize immigration fraud in connection with permanent partnerships.

Binational same-sex partners suffer enormous hardship due to this inequity in the law. In April this year a case received national attention; Shirley Tan and Jay Mercado, from Pacifica California were granted a reprieve when Shirley’s deportation was in effect stayed for the duration of this 111th Congress. A Private Bill from Senator Feinstein was introduced and will have to be reintroduced each new Congress, unless it is voted upon.

But that is a private bill – how can we obtain private bills for all the LGBT binational couples? The only recourse is UAFA and that is why Tuesday’s assembly resolution hearing is so significant. It would be California’s way of saying – …”you have to give all Americans the same rights regardless of relationship orientation. ” It would also hopefully send a message to Senator Feinstein who has not yet signed on as a co-sponsor of UAFA; and hopefully those who are signed on and all advocates will stop hanging their hats on the yet to be seen, maybe to happen, mega issue of comprehensive immigration reform. We must push NOW for UAFA.

So much talent has been lost to our State because so many of our Californians have had to leave home to be with their partners.

Amos Lim, founding Board member of Out4 Immigration, noted “It is important to get California on record as supporting the passage of Uniting American Families Act because our state has the highest number of same sex binational couples living here. According to the studies conducted by Williams Institute, there are about 30% or 10,000 binational couples living here and our representative needs to take a stand for equality and pass this important bill.”

I for one believe that UAFA must move faster and could if it was given enough attention. Now is imperative because it has a lot of support in Congress and the momentum could be there as a result of heightened advocacy and visibility. The Uniting American Families Act had its hearing in DC and now California want to see it happen.

people tanThe community is very grateful for the hearing next week and California representatives are urged to vote in favor. It is simply the right message to send to DC.

Notably. Senator Barbara Boxer is a Co-sponsor of UAFA/ and Senator Dianne Feinstein is not.

PRESS: On-site interviews will be available : Providing testimony :

Melanie Nathan, of Marin County and a Commissioner on the Marin County Human Rights Commission who could not Petition for Israeli partner for residency in the U.S.nterviews

Gina Caprio cannot Petition for British partner for residency in the U.S

Alice Kessler, Government Affairs Director, Equality California

Santosh Seeram-Santana, Legislative Advocate, Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality

Amos Lim, Founding Board Member and Treasurer, Out4Immigration

When: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 9:00 AM Where: State Capitol, Room 4202

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. In the past decade, EQCA has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil-rights protections in the nation. EQCA has passed over 50 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, public education and community empowerment.

Melanie NathanBlogged by MELANIE NATHAN, CEO of Private Courts, Inc. Consulting, mediation & private advocacy ; motivated by injustice, I blog about family law/mediation, politics, news and LGBT equality and anything that ‘tickles my fancy.’ Otherwise blogging as O-blog-dee-o-blog-da. Websites and blogs include:;;

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11 Responses to California Assembly To Hear Testimony On Resolution Supporting Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).

  1. Melanie nathan

    August 23, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Please read this follow up to this post. It was a succesfull day of testimon and now to the next step

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  9. Madison Reed

    August 14, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Thank you for bringing this wonderful news to my attention Melanie! I’m going to write Kevin de Leon, EQCA and AACRE, and thank them too.

    The Uniting American Families Act is so important to my life and the life of my beloved partner who lives in Eastern Europe, that without it’s passage soon, I’m concerned about our safety. Forced by US law to live 6000 miles from my partner who is very dependent upon my strength from my home base in the United States where I own a business and my home, and have my career, has had a very negative erosive effect on everything in my life here, and consequently our chances of being able to survive as a successful family has diminished even though we have so many difficult challenges still ahead of us.

    I need my Sweetheart here with me. Already quite financially damaged from this injustice, if I don’t see a BIG light at the end of the tunnel very soon, and I emphasize SOON, I will be forced to abandon “hope” in having any future in my country. Wishing and hoping are no longer welcomed words to many LGBT people. Don’t wish us well, please! Help us! Our lives are on the line. We must have relief without delay. Please support the Uniting American Families Act in every way you can possibly do it.

    Madison Reed

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