Democrats Re-Introduce Bill to Let U.S. Citizens Sponsor Their Same-Sex Partners For Legal Residency

By Edwin Mora | April 15, 2011 | 4:45 AM EDT

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)

Washington ( - Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), joined by several other House Democrats, re-introduced on Thursday the Uniting American Families Act, which would permit homosexual and lesbian American citizens to sponsor their partners for legal residency in the United States, saying the status-quo is “humanly cruel.”

The New York congressman, who is leading the push for passing the legislation, said there are more than 100 Democrat co-sponsors of the bill, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

He also said that a similar bill is being introduced in the Senate by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

The prospects of the bill passing are dim because it has no support from Republican members in the GOP-controlled House, although Rep. Nadler, without mentioning any names, alleged that some Republicans are considering supporting the legislation.

“Today, thousands of committed same-sex couples are needlessly suffering because of unequal treatment under our immigration laws and this is an outrage,” Nadler told reporters at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Nadler went on to say that it is a “gratuitous cruelty” that only homosexual Americans who fall in love with a foreign national must choose between their partner and their country.  In turn, he added, heterosexual Americans are able to expeditiously sponsor their partner’s immigration to the United States.

A homosexual or lesbian foreign national partner can only stay in the United States for a “brief period,” said Rep. Nadler, adding, “This is cruel. It’s humanly cruel. It’s a gratuitous cruelty by American law against the couple for no reason whatsoever.”

“It’s not only the partners in committed relationship who suffer,” said Nadler. “Their children, their extended families, their communities and employers are all hurt when families are broken up. So, therefore, I am proud to say that we are introducing the Uniting American Families Act today with nearly 100 co-sponsors.”

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The bill would allow homosexual and lesbian couples to sponsor their foreign national partner’s legal immigration to the United States “on the same basis as anyone else,” said Nadler, adding that “the same limitations, [and] the same penalties for fraud” would apply.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a leading proponent of immigration reform and a sponsor of Nadler’s legislation, said the Uniting American Families Act should be part of efforts to fix the broken U.S. immigration system.

The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage. However, the Obama administration has decided not to defend the constitutionality of that federal statue.