“If We Are Truly Created Equal”

Jan 29 2013 @ 11:20am

McCain says that bi-national gay spouses being ripped apart or being forced to live abroad isn’t of “paramount importance”:

Chris Geidner and Zeke Miller report that the president feels differently:

Same-sex couples will be a part of the proposal for addressing immigration reform that President Obama is scheduled to unveil Tuesday in Las Vegas, BuzzFeed has confirmed with multiple sources familiar with the White House plan. A Democratic source said: “Same-sex couples will be part of his proposal.” A second source confirmed that, unlike the Senate framework released Monday, same-sex bi-national couples — those with one American and one foreign partner — will be included in the White House principles.

That’s a huge achievement for those of us committed to Immigration Equality (I’m on the board). And a great and important statement from the president. Margaret Hartmann fears that bringing “gay rights and religious freedom into the debate sounds like a good way to make sure immigration reform never passes.” I do not see how religious freedom can in any way be affected by allowing Glenn Greenwald to live in the US with his partner. Adam Clark Estes zooms out:

No matter what happens from here on out, it’s becoming apparent that the gay rights movement is about to latch on to the push for immigration reform. And why shouldn’t they? The point of reform is to fix things that are broken, and as the country moves towards greater equality for people of all sexual orientations, why should same sex couples be left out? Well, it could get tricky. If the conversation turns too sharply in the direction of gay rights, the larger immigration reform process could get bogged down or even stuck in the mud completely.

“Latch onto”? We’ve been insisting on being included in comprehensive immigration reform for years. Comprehensive means, well, you all know what it means. And the real pain and anguish of gay binational couples, forced apart, or forced to live abroad, may not be of paramount importance to John McCain, but they are of paramount importance to someone whose marriage can be torn apart by an immigration official. John Aravosis sees a less fraught opportunity:

Republicans are desperate for immigration reform. And embracing gay rights is a political plus, not a minus, for Democrats, as the President has already learned. Combining the two is a win-win for everyone.  Does anyone really think the Republicans are going to risk killing the very thing they’re now most desperate for?

Of course, if DOMA didn’t exist, none of this would be necessary at all. But as one half of a bi-national married couple, in a Western world where almost every other country recognizes our relationship in some respect in terms of immigration, all I can say is that keeping a committed couple together in America, regardless of their orientation, should be of “paramount importance” to the government of the United States. Because family life is integral to the immigration laws in this country, and gay people are not only part of families but also makers and defenders of them. Or to put it another way:

If we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

Either we are equal as human beings and citizens or we are not. Maybe McCain does not see civil equality as important in a liberal constitutional republic. I can’t see anything more important.