Senate Immigration Bill Would Allow U.S. Citizens to Sponsor Same-Sex Partners

By Penny Starr | September 30, 2010 | 5:48 PM EDT

( – An immigration bill introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on Thursday includes the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow U.S. citizens to sponsor their non-citizen, same-sex partners.

“Now is the time to reform our nation's cruel and broken immigration system,” Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said in a press release following the introduction of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010. “Today, there are 12 million undocumented immigrants, including at least half a million LGBT people who are forced to live in the shadows of our society.” (LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.)

“The Uniting American Families Act is consistent with U.S. immigration law's existing policy of keeping families intact,” Carey said. “These couples and their families have been kept separated or forced to live abroad. It’s unconscionable to ask any American to choose between family and country.”

The immigration bill also includes the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act), which would allow children of illegal aliens to achieve citizenship through completing two years of college or two years of service in the military.

“The DREAM Act will help ensure brighter and more secure futures for our young people, including countless LGBT youth, by providing them a path to citizenship,” Carey said. “The United States is built on the belief that everyone should get a fair shake to fully participate in civic life, and to be able to build a future in the country they love and call home.”