This Pride Season, Help Win Immigration Reform

June 14, 2013

This Pride season, we have so much to celebrate in our community. I’m proud of the marriage victories and non-discrimination wins that Federation members have had a part in this year. I’m also extremely proud of the stand that the LGBT community, including many Federation members, has taken on immigration reform.

This summer, while the debate on immigration reform continues, my wife Laura and I will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. We got married because we loved each other deeply and wanted to make a commitment in front of our friends and family. That part was easy, but from there, it got more complicated.

Laura was in the country on a student visa. Immigration attorneys looked at our specific case and counseled us not to marry in the U.S. So we got married in her hometown, Montreal, Quebec, in front of most of our friends and family. Most, not all, because many of my friends, who were undocumented, were not able to join us across the border in Canada.

Back home in the U.S., our friend Whelma tried to recreate the wedding scene for our second celebration using the same decorations and favors that she had seen in the pictures we had posted on Facebook. It was so touching to finally have all of our friends there to celebrate with us, but I couldn’t help but ponder the absurdity and unfairness of the situation.

Laura and I couldn’t marry in the US, and our marriage would not be recognized in most states. I couldn’t sponsor her for a green card. My friends couldn’t travel to our wedding, and what’s worse, many of them faced a daily fear of being separated from their families by deportation.

Sadly, not much has changed in five years.

At the Federation, we are standing up for immigration reform that will allow undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and live their lives with Pride. The reform we need would help couples like Laura and me, and it will also help people like my friends, who are among the 11 million undocumented Americans living in our country, get on a pathway to citizenship.

To build support and momentum for immigration reform, the Federation has joined a coalition of national LGBT organizations working to ensure that everyone understands the positive impact this legislation will have on LGBT young people, detainees, workers, and others -- whether or not they are a part of a binational couple.  Over the next few months, we need your help to educate the public and your supporters about the LGBT community’s commitment to advancing these critical reforms. Your organization can help make that possible. 

Federation members can:

I hope that you and your organization will join me in this effort this summer so that this year, when Laura and I celebrate our wedding anniversary, we can also celebrate the passage of comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform.

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