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  • « HRC out of touch with community | Main | Moving to the middle on marriage »

    July 07, 2008

    Obama on same sex immigration

    Posted by: Andoni

    UPDATE: At the end of the post.

    Barackobamagrins Throughout the primary season I was angry that no gay reporter or gay person asked either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama a question about same sex immigration, the issue I care about most.

    As a result, I decided to take things into my own hands. I would find a way to personally lobby the Democratic nominee how important this issue is for me and tens of thousands of others in the gay community. That opportunity arose tonight in Atlanta at an Obama fundraiser.

    I attended the Obama VIP reception which entailed a photo with Barack and maybe the possibility of 10 seconds chat time while the photo was being taken. I consulted Rachel Tiven of Immigration Equality for her suggestion as to what the best 10 second bite would be. She suggested to be as emotional as possible and gave me, “I have to choose between the love of my life and my country because I am gay. Please support immigration rights for gay and lesbian families.”

    I practiced this line over and over. However, when my moment came, I flubbed my lines. I don’t know exactly what I said, but I did manage to get out gay and immigration --- and then I choked up. It was a real emotional choke up, not an act, and not the script. However, I said enough for Obama to know what I was talking about.  He put his arm around me and in a very comforting way said, “I know, I know.”

    It was apparent that he knew this issue well. He took some time to explain that same sex immigration is going to be a very difficult one because it combines two of the most controversial issues Congress faces, gay rights and immigration. (I heard this from Barney Frank two years ago as well.) Obama also said that to tackle it we were going to have to establish a vehicle to recognize gay couples. I think we both said “civil unions” simultaneously -- me as a question, he as a statement.

    Civil unions could be a possible vehicle. Then a stand-alone bill limited to same sex immigration rights, similar to the Uniting Americans Family Act could work. He seemed to imply that without that vehicle, it wouldn’t work. More broadly, if DOMA is repealed, then granting federal benefits to couples who are civil unioned (or married, although he didn’t say married) would realize immigration rights. Immigration is one of those 1200 federal benefits he so often says he wants to grant gay couples in civil unions.

    He ended by wanting me to know that the road for a solution to same sex immigration is a difficult one but that he would not forget about our conversation or the issue once he got into office.

    I don’t know exactly how much time I spent talking with Barack Obama, but it was at least a minute or two, far more than the 10 seconds I expected. And if the handlers hadn’t escorted me along, I could have asked a dozen follow up questions.

    I left the event with a good feeling that he understood my problem and would work hard to fix it as soon as it could politically possibly be fixed.

    The photo above is one taken by a friend with my camera when Barack was working the crowd…..and shaking my hand. The official photo from the professional photographer won’t be ready for a week or so.

    UPDATE: And here is a photo I just received of Barack Obama comforting me as I got all emotional telling him that I have to choose between the love of my life .....and my country. I think he really got it.

    As an aside, what struck me most about Obama, was how very thin he was. He is much much leaner in person than he appears on TV--athletically lean, not sickly lean.

    Dsc_8458

     

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    Comments

    1. daniel on Sep 29, 2008 2:43:35 PM:

      I hope they do something about same-sex marriage and our immigration rights. I mean, I have known this guy for a while know... and he lives in Brazil, I got plans of going there, and if anything, I would like him to join me here in the US. Just in case, I have started to learn Portuguese, and if nothing can be done, I guess the only road is moving to Brazil and living there... and I dont think that is right.

    1. Sam J on Nov 12, 2008 4:01:00 PM:

      Why can't UAFA or repeal of DOMA or recognition of same sex immigration be bundled in a spending bill where it would have more chance of passage?

    1. What to do!!! on Nov 20, 2008 2:25:49 AM:

      I am starting to feel the same way. What do I pick? My Country? The love of my life? As much as it would hurt to move from the US I would consider it because I will pick love. I just can't believe we tell others how to treat people but our relationships are not treated equally. It just sickens me! Even if my love is a partner of the same sex does that lessen the love that we have for each other? Does this mean we can not have a family? Are we not as important as others just because we may happen to be a man that loves a man or a woman that loves another woman? No it doesn't!!!

    1. Tayland on Dec 13, 2008 3:53:33 PM:

      This has been the most frustrating things in my life. My partner is in Singapore. Our plan is to be together no matter where we have to land. I will leave the US and the US will have one less person to tax. I will live and work in another country and enrich their bottom line. There is no question we would like to live in the US, but if this issue is not resolved and we have equal rights as heterosexuals, then US will have one less tax payer and perhaps Canada will gain one. In the position that the US is in, you would think that they would recognize the possible fleeing of their citizens.

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    1. Emily on Apr 26, 2009 7:40:05 PM:

      I am writing an article for my school paper regarding same-sex immigration issues. As a journalist in training and as a straight woman who is having the love of my love come here in two weeks from outside the U.S., I can't imagine gay couples having to face a problem of this magnitude. While he is not coming here on a fiance visa, but a different type of visa, I couldn't image him not being able to come here at all. So I hope the Uniting American Families Act will be passed. The visa process is a LONG process for straight couples, but at least we have an option. I hope gays are given these rights and options as well!

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    1. TRCU on Sep 14, 2009 12:43:06 AM:

      And a year later, we are not really significantly further... how sad and unfortunate.

      I am an American living abroad with a Danish partner in London... really wanting to move back after more than 15 years away...

      For the moment, I will continue to hope as well as support the following organization:

      www.immigrationequality.org/

      Cheers

    1. Generic Viagra on Sep 21, 2009 5:16:52 PM:

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    1. Melanie Nathan on Sep 26, 2009 7:27:33 PM:

      UPDATE visit my BLOG
      www.oblogdeeoblogda.wordpress.com

      I thank Citizen for this- seems as if Immigration Equality could have used your advice back then - please read my6 article about repeal od DOMA and all the rediculous strategies by our leaders to which we have fallen prey
      http://lezgetreal.com/?p=21836

    1. Adult Toys on Mar 17, 2010 7:32:29 AM:

      If we live in a truly equal opportunities world then same sex immigration should definitely be allowed. I don't see anything wrong in that.

    1. Adult Toys on Mar 17, 2010 7:35:22 AM:

      If we live in a truly equal opportunities world then same sex immigration should be allowed. I do not see anything wrong in that.

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    1. brian gomez on Jan 18, 2011 11:04:49 PM:

      Same sex immigration. That will be a glorious day for the union. I bet will take about 20 years before this happens. Too many bigots have to die off first. I was lucky enough to be able to immigrate via the eb-5 visa program, and I feel your pain.

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