Huntington, West Virginia
September 17, 2010
Senator Jay Rockefeller
531 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Rockefeller,
On previous occasions I've written to you about my hellish life being separated from the person I love with all my heart, only because I was born gay and the United States federal government denies me the same bundle of constitutional rights and benefits of citizenship that straight Americans have always received.
I've asked you to become a co-sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act. Today, I'm going to ask you again if you'll declare your co-sponsorship of the bill. Will you? We already have 129 House members co-sponsoring the UAFA, and 24 members of the Senate. If it would come up for a vote it's pretty likely that we'd get enough votes to pass it. But I have another idea to propose to you. It might be an idea that could help boost the democratic party's popularity and gain more votes to elect democrats. But before I tell you the idea, here's a brief summary of what the UAFA is:
"The UAFA is a 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."
Now, next week Senator Harry Reid will be introducing the Defense Authorization Bill for passage by the U.S. Senate. He seems very determined to get the DAB passed, regardless of people who try to use partisan politics to block it. He has included into the DAB, language for passage of one LGBT bill, "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and one immigration bill, "The Dream Act" - a bill that will legalize the status of children of non-American immigrants without legal status.
While I support both DADT and the Dream Act, what I'm proposing to you, my Senator, is to ask Senator Reid why he doesn't add the Uniting American Families Act into the Defense Authorization bill, a bill that will produce a lot of goodwill and create a lot of positive publicity, because its about love and families of American CITIZENS - giving LGBT American citizens rights that they should already be enjoying like other Americans? The Uniting American Families Act is such a strong and positive bill that it could stand on its own and be passed by Congress, without inclusion into other bills! It should be the darling of the Democrats, who would like a bill to sweeten the bitter reality pill of dwindling voter party loyalty, and the need to pass the Defense Authorization bill.
Of all LGBT bills pending in Congress, the Uniting American Families Act is probably the least controversial. If Democrats will be seen helping to get it passed, and pass it, it will be a convincing, powerful message to numerous millions of LGBT American citizens, to their family members and friends, that our democratic political leaders do care about the equality of every single American citizen, and are not bowing to far right-wing theocrats!
Would you, on my behalf, remind Senator Reid that Americans like me are suffering needlessly, and that the exclusion of the Uniting American Families Act from the Defense Authorization bill, while including a bill for non-citizens, "The Dream Act," could be perceived as Congress helping non-citizens while turning their backs on citizens. Including the UAFA would be less controversial than the other bills, would certainly add balance and fairness, and might add to the success of the passage of the Defense Authorization Bill - plus, were the Uniting American Families Act to become law, there would be a wave of support for any member of Congress who had their hand in supporting it. You could expect the loyalty of a huge number of voters. I think we can safely say that there are more Americans who are fair and want to see Americans treated fairly, than those who are intolerant and hateful.
Will you help me, and go to bat for the Uniting American Families Act, Senator Rockefeller?
I will be waiting for your reply.
Very sincerely yours,
P.S. - Here's a website put up by another American, a friend of mine from Louisiana, who has a German partner. Lucky for Patrick that Germany warmly accepted him, allowed him to get a job, and German residency, otherwise he and his German partner Marco would still be living apart in two different countries like me and my Belarusian partner Dzmitry, who have been separated for several years. On the right hand side of the page, you'll see a rectangular cluster of small photos. If you go down to row 8, you'll see the photo in the middle with the guy with the sunglasses. That's me. Click on it and you'll see a mini-description of the two of us.