Friday, June 05, 2009

Home pride

I don’t often mention members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation (and for some, that’s for the best—for a variety of reasons), but I think it’s important to praise my representatives in the US Congress when they do the right thing.

US Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), pictured at left, has signed-on as a co-sponsor of S 424, the Uniting American Families Act, which, if passed, will allow US citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their non-American same-gender partner for immigration to the US. Under current law, heterosexual Americans can sponsor their non-American spouses, but gay and lesbian Americans cannot. This law will make US immigration law in this respect the same as for many other countries, including New Zealand, which has had such provisions for well over a decade.

As a US citizen living permanently overseas, I can vote for the US Senators and the US Representative representing the last place I was registered to vote—in my case, the north side of Chicago. So, this past November I was able to vote to re-elect Senator Durbin, and his recent action demonstrates the typical sorts of things he does that made me glad to do so.

Senator Durbin joins my representative in Congress, US Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois-9), pictured at right, who is co-sponsor of the House version, HR 1024. To be honest, I’m a bit prouder of Rep. Schakowsky because she was one of the original 80 House co-sponsors. I’ve also long admired her for her willingness to take on the Republican-connected mercenary firm Blackwater, and for her commitment to fairness and social justice. I was extremely proud to vote for her re-election, too.

I never contacted either Senator Durbin or Rep. Schakowsky about this bill (do as I say, not as I do…), but I’ll send them a note of thanks. Like most members of Congress, both their online contact forms assume the sender lives in the US (Schakowsky’s assumes Illinois, even), and they don’t provide email addresses. Google helped me find them (I think). I suppose there’s always old-fashioned air mail—wait, how do you do that again?

Seriously, thanks and congratulations to two members of the US Congress who I’m proud to say represent me.

For more on this bill, including a complete and regularly updated list of sponsors, check out this post.


Roger Owen Green said...

A very good college friend ended up moving to Canada so that she and her love could get married. (Her love is Canadian.) The option of having the Canadian getting married in the US was not an option.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

The marriage thing is another issue entirely—and one your state is facing at the moment. But UAFA doesn't require a change in marriage laws, or even a repeal of the notorious "Defense" of Marriage Act. Ultimately, either one—passge of UAFA or repeal of DOMA could help your friend.