Friday, May 21, 2010

Shock and Lies as Gutierrez Cites Political Risk Excuse for Omitting LGBT from Immigration Reform Bill

By Melanie Nathan,

An Article titled : Rep. Gutierrez wants path to citizenship for foreign-partners in same-sex relationships appeared in the Chicago tribune today and it is a shocker -

Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez on Thursday endorsed the Schumer/Reid Framework that would allow the foreign-born partners of gay and lesbian Americans to follow the same path to citizenship as heterosexual spouses, adding, what Rex Huppke, of the Chicago Tribune, a staff reporter calls “a new element to the howling national debate over immigration reform.”

Why might I ask is this a new element. The only thing new here is the Congressman’s great BIG flip flop; and it has made me mad!

About six months ago, when Gutierrez first laid out plans for a House immigration reform bill, the inclusion of same-sex partner rights seemed too politically risky. But now, in an exclusive interview with the Tribune, the congressman said he believes the coalition in favor of reform is strong enough to make the bill, in his words, “truly inclusive.” To add insult to injury the Tribune is citing this “new” element as a praise to the Illinois Congressman.

This is such a slap in the face by Luis Gutierrez, who caused untold rancor, panic and stress amongst the LGBT binational community, those suffering day by day by day the reality and cost, at the hands of what is clearly one of the most cruel forms of discrimination made legal by the Congress of the USA when it passed the Defense of Marriage Act.(DOMA)

Now Gutierrez makes this flagrant admission ‘politically risky?’ At the time Gutierrez steered clear of the truth about his decision to exclude same sex binational couples. Are we supposed to hail this statement? How do we trust representatives who assure us of their support of our basic rights and then in the next breath snub us, without explanation, because it is politically risky.

Everything Mr. Gutierrez is politically risky; being in Congress is politically risky. Your cowardice caused many sleepless nights for many LGBT community members.

“The underlying part of any comprehensive immigration bill is family unity,” Gutierrez said. “We need to speak more clearly and more articulately and more frequently that the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, and same-sex couples and their bi-national relationships, are part of families.” What a disingenuous piece of nonsense.

Gutierrez EXCLUDED US! Surely such exclusion was politically risky to us – but that side of the political risk scale meant nothing. I can only assume that Gutierrez was pandering to some greater cause – perhaps the cause that may seem greater than one of flagrant inequality.

The staff writer of Tribune naively states –“What Gutierrez is proposing would give the foreign partners of American gays and lesbians the same right to apply for U.S. citizenship as the spouse of an American heterosexual. “

What a false statement! He is not proposing that at all – he had the chance to put it in his BILL and he did not. The Tribune reporter acts as if this is coming from Gutierrez. IT IS NOT. It came from Jerold Nadler , New York Democratic Congressman when he introduced UAFA, The Uniting American Families Act into Congress in February of 2009.

Gutierrez misled the gay community into thinking he would include UAFA in his House BILL- But he left it out. He purposefully did not include and is now citing political risk and the Tribune has the audacity to give him this credit.

The Chicago Tribune way under states the crisis, when it states “At this point, same-sex bi-national couples who want to remain together in the United States have to rely on work or student visas, or seek other legal loopholes.” What about exile? How many Americans have had to leave the USA to be with their foreign born partners and spouses.

At least the Tribune makes an attempt to highlight some actual case examples. For that I say thanks for bringing this to mainstream attention: “This has a terrible impact on couples,” said Eric Berndt, supervising attorney for the National Asylum Partnership on Sexual Minorities at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago. “It can tear apart their lives, it can tear apart their relationships and it can force them to choose between their countries and the person they love.”

So yes you are correct Mr. Huppke – “Immigration rights for same-sex partners have been sought in a bill separate from Gutierrez’s – the Uniting American Families Act, which has more than 100 sponsors in the U.S. House and more than 20 in the Senate.” This Bill was there and available for inclusion when Gutierrez to include. He was afraid.

The cowardly congressman is now proposing that the language of that act be woven into the comprehensive immigration reform bill. Why now Luis? Why not then? What is the truth about this flip flop – suddenly we are no longer a political risk. What changes Congressman – your assessment of political risk – is that what changed.

The Tribune interview reports further with this statement -”We need to build bridges between the LGBT community and the larger immigrant community,” Gutierrez said. “In the end, the bigger the tent we build, the more successful we’ll be in passing comprehensive immigration reform.”

You lost your chance you were part of the divide when excluding us from the House Bill. Do you have any idea how that felt? We felt hopeless. You owe us an apology, yes you do!

So this leads me to one simple comment and one more remark to Gutierrez and others who may succumb to political risk even against their own principles and at the expense of a victim group: I am sick of being marginalized by being considered a political risk. Can someone show some courage and leadership.

Picture Shirley and Jay – Mercado-Tan Twins with Lady Liberty© Melanie Nathan/Lezgetreal

Melanie's original May 21, 2010 story at LezGetReal:
Shock Revelation as Gutierrez Cites Political Risk Excuse for Omitting LGBT from Immigration Reform Bill

Original Chicago Tribune article:
Rep. Gutierrez wants path to citizenship for foreign-partners in same-sex relationships

Brief Personal Stories about Bi-National Couples: Our Stories


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