Even from a conservative point of view—in fact, especially from a conservative point of view—it makes no sense to distort and disrupt gay families by depriving binational couples of the tools they need to care for each other. It makes even less sense to do that while providing aspiring newcomers with the tools they need to work, providing businesses with the tools they need to hire, and providing children who grew up in America with the opportunity to live as Americans. Unless your policy goal is to distort and disrupt gay families.
Gay rights advocates are correct to force the issue by demanding an amendment adding partner immigration to the reform bill now moving through the Senate. They are right to expect their Democratic friends, including President Obama, to support the effort, and thereby to force Republicans to announce their priorities. Just how much electoral support and moral standing does the GOP want to give up in order to affirm its hostility to homosexuals? The results would be, let us say, clarifying.
I am on the board of Immigration Equality for full disclosure. And it’s worth adding one point: the pain and stress caused by not having your core family relationship secure in your own country is intense. In London last year, I sat in a room full of diaspora gay Americans and their foreign-born spouses. It was an informational meeting. All I can remember vividly are the lines on the foreheads of those in front of me, the strain in their eyes, the fear in their belly.
Imagine the US government could split you from your spouse and make you live abroad if you want to stay together. Imagine it could happen today – or at any random moment in the immigration process. This is a form of sheer cruelty, a denial of basic human dignity. It is unworthy of a democratic country.