Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Handful of Republicans Support Uniting American Families Act

As a post this morning noted, some within the Republican Party get the message that "business as usual" based on God, guns and gays and the subjugation of women is a recipe for disaster.  A case in point is the small handful of Republicans who have signed on in support of the Uniting American Families Act which would afford equal treatment to legally married same sex couples as already enjoyed by heterosexual couples under the nation's immigration laws.  What is telling is that these legislators recognize that the anti-gay legal framework favored by the GOP base is harming America's competitiveness in the global market for the best and the brightest employees and innovators.  It goes without saying that one can only imagine the shrieks and sheets of flying spittle these brave and rational Republicans will illicit from the Christofascists within the GOP base.  Here are highlights from Huffington Post:

Two Republican House members signed a bill on Friday that would allow same-sex couples equal rights as heterosexual ones for immigration purposes, making the legislation bipartisan -- although with only small levels of GOP support -- in both chambers.

Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) joined Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and 145 Democratic lawmakers in support of the bill, called the Uniting American Families Act. Dent, Hanna and Collins are the only Republican cosponsors of the bill. All three were endorsed by Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay supporters of the GOP, in their most recent campaigns.

Hanna explained his move in a Tuesday statement to HuffPost as a pro-business decision. Our laws force some couples to live apart rather than in the country of their choice, pressuring Americans to take their talent, innovation, and wealth elsewhere," Hanna said. "Businesses large and small in New York, many of them multinational corporations, are struggling to keep some of their best workers in the United States ... We can keep jobs, dollars and talent right here in the United States by simply allowing financially and emotionally committed couples to live together in the same country.

Shawn Millan, a spokesman for Dent, gave the same reason for support in a statement, saying "business leaders have consistently told Congressman Dent that they are losing talented workers because the existing immigration laws threaten to break up committed couples."

The Uniting American Families Act was introduced in April 2011 by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). It could help as many as 40,000 binational same-sex couples who hope to petition for their partner for legal immigration, according to a study from the Wilson Institute at UCLA. Those couples have nearly 25,000 children in total, the same report found.

Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, those couples are not afforded the same rights as opposite-sex couples to petition for green cards for their spouses, even if they are also legally married in their state. That can mean couples are separated for at least six months -- or longer, if one partner is in the United States without authorization -- while they wait for another visa to temporarily return to the country.
One can only hoe that this commonsense legislation will be enacted both because it makes business sense but also because it reflects common fairness and equality under the nation's civil laws.

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