Freedom to Become American
The United States does not allow people to sponsor their same-sex partners for immigration benefits, such as legal residency or citizenship, even if the couple has been legally married in another country or the United States. This injustice would be remedied by the proposed Uniting American Families Act.
The Act is included in the comprehensive immigration reform framework being advanced by congressional leaders. Unfortunately, the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops has joined other anti-gay Religious Right organizations that are threatening to oppose all immigration reform if it includes provisions providing basic justice for same-sex couples. Catholics For Equality responded to the bishops’ action with this statement:
As a church of many immigrant communities and traditions, the American Catholic Church has historically been a beacon of welcoming for new immigrants. The current U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' opposition to the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) runs contrary to the Catholic Church's longstanding pro-family and immigrant positions and aligns the Church with the forces of bigotry and discrimination.
Catholics for Equality supports UAFA's provisions to help immigrants become Americans and reunite their families. The civil marriage traditions of other countries should be respected. Catholics for Equality upholds the principle of the separation and church and state.
Freedom to Unite Immigrant Families to Become American Families
Catholics for Equality supports family life in all its modern manifestations based on loving, mutual commitment. Today there are many types of families that create our communities. In Catholic parishes throughout the United States there are nuclear families, extended families, and single-parent families. Some of these families have children and some do not. Children are being raised by their biological parents, by adoptive parents, by step-parent, grandparents, foster parents, and in group homes and orphanages. Children are being nurtured by teachers, coaches, aunts and uncles, godparents, and big brothers and sisters. In their parishes, families are being nurtured by celibate parish priests, lay ministers, and religious sisters and brothers.
When Catholics think of 'family' and 'marriage' their thoughts are set in a vibrant context that is far more complex than a simplistic "one man, one woman" relationship.
American Catholics understand and live productively with family complexity. They accept, support, and participate in the wide range of family realities that constitute today’s parishes and civic communities. As Catholics unite around the Eucharist they experience the Body of Christ in its many forms that draws all people into the one Christian family that is life affirming and celebratory, as well as forgiving and healing.
In that spirit of inclusivity, Catholics are the single most favorable Christian denomination toward LGBT acceptance in U.S. society:
This data confirms Catholics as the leading Christian community in acceptance of equal family rights for the LGBT community. Acceptance of equal family rights does not in any way diminish traditional family life but bolsters the social fabric of all American families. (2)
The concept of family equality is central to nurturing children in today's society. According to the Trevor Project, a national suicide prevention organization, "Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth who come from a rejecting family are up to nine times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers." (1) We owe it to our children to be accepting and loving of them, especially as they face their own understanding of sexuality and identity. Catholic families can be a beacon to all American families in the creation of family equality as a true family value.
Call or write your Members of Congress and state “I am a Catholic and member of Catholics for Equality from your state and believe that all men and women should be given be provided equal immigration protections regardless of sexual orientation. I ask that you vote for the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and the Reuniting Families Act (RFA). The UAFA and RFA include provisions to allow LGBT Americans to sponsor their foreign-born partners for residency in the United States.”
Capitol Hill Switchboard: 202.224.3121
Contact Your Representative: http://writerep.house.gov
Contact Your Senators: http://senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
For more information about Freedom to Become American:
Wikepedia Basic Facts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniting_American_Families_Act
Immigration Equality: www.immigrationequality.org
Human Rights Campaign: http://www.hrc.org/issues/int_rights_immigration.asp
For resources on American Catholics on immigration issues:
Consult the American Catholic History Classroom at http://libraries.cua.edu/achrcua/immigration/immigration_wel.html