LGBT Equality Advocate Says Schumer Committed To Including LGBT Families In Immigration Reform

Following my report yesterday that the National Association of Evangelicals says it was assured by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) that he would not include a provision for same-sex couples to sponsor their partners for citizenship in a comprehensive immigration reform package, Immigration Equality, a group advocating for LGBT rights in immigration reform, tells me that Schumer has told them otherwise.

Steve Ralls, the communications director for Immigration Equality, said, “we have been assured by Sen. Schumer that he remains committed to including the Uniting American Families Act in the comprehensive legislation.” Ralls added that while he wasn’t privy to Schumer’s conversations with the NAE, “the assurance we are getting is that his position is unchanged and he remains supportive of including gay families in immigration reform.” Schumer recently reiterated his support for such provisions, after first committing to it almost a year ago. 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has also signaled its opposition to the same-sex couple provisions.

Currently, said Ralls, there are approximately 36,000 same-sex couples facing separation because one (a U.S. citizen) may not sponsor his or her partner (a non-U.S. citizen). Almost half of those couples have minor children.

Yesterday, Schumer participated in a conference call sponsored by a coalition of conservative evangelicals, including the NAE, in which he urged them to use their influence with Republican senators to help build needed bi-partisan support for a comprehensive immigration package. The UAFA was not discussed on the call. I have a call into Sen. Schumer’s office and will update when I hear back.

“A good comprehensive immigration reform bill will make a big difference for millions of people and a lot of those are evangelicals and Catholics,” said Ralls. “It would be a real shame if the organizations representing them in Washington decided that a good bill wasn’t good enough if it helped a few thousand gay couples.”

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