By CODY LYON
On a cold night this past February, around 20 New Yorkers gathered in an upper west side brownstone to view and offer support to filmmaker Sebastian Cordoba and his latest project, a documentary film called “Through Thick and Thin.” The movie details the uncertain plights of seven bi national gay and lesbian couples, who, under current
The film takes on added relevance after Federal legislation was re introduced this past week in
“You meet somebody and you fall in love, maybe you move in together and then you both realize, that perhaps you’ll either have to move, or even worse, separate” said filmmaker Cordoba of a current common scenario among bi national same sex couples in the United States.
But, this past Tuesday May 8th, New York Representative Jerrold Nadler re-introduced the Uniting American Families Act, or UAFA, formerly known as the Permanent Partners Act or PPIA. If UAFA were passed into law, a new option would be opened for such couples.
UAFA would provide a mechanism under the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows
Under the UAFA, to qualify as a permanent partner, a person would have to show commitment, financial interdependence, exclusivity, the inability to marry in a manner that is “cognizable” under the Immigration and Nationality Act as well as the absence of blood relationship.
As current immigration law now stands, bi national same sex couples in the
“The most cruel form of anti-gay discrimination is to physically separate a couple from one another” said Rachel B. Tiven, a lawyer and Executive Director at Immigration Equality, a national organization that seeks to end discrimination in U.S. immigration laws.
The current UAFA legislation introduced this past May 8, does not have any status outside of immigration laws. It would not create any kind of relationship recognition separate from the immigration benefits. In other words, the policy is not a step towards gay marriage, a fear expressed by those who oppose any legal sanctioning of gay couples.
As filmmaker Sebastian Cordoba points out, of those countries that do recognize same sex partners for immigration purposes, only three have legally sanctioned gay marriage.
Mark, who’s been a registered Republican most of his life, often finds himself discussing his situation with conservatives. He says that he just deals with the facts based on tax and laws.
“Fred can’t work, even though he has his doctorate in education” noted Mark of his highly skilled partner who he can’t sponsor for a green card.
“I don’t even have a chance to pursue it, if my partner and family is taken away from me, one of my fundamental rights is gone” he said of the current immigration laws that do not allow him to continue living life in the United States with his partner of 15 years.
Regardless, he says he’s exhausted from worrying about it all and has given up on the struggle to try and stay in the
While most supporters of the bill agree, that part of the key to successful passage is the education of Americans about current policy, some worry that the gay community itself has not been exercising its own political activist connections in seeking eventual passage. They point out that current immigration policy is one of the most blatant, clearly spelled out examples of lesbian and gay inequality in the United States.
“The first thing is to tell gay people that this point in time, they are not equal to straight men and women in the