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Posts Tagged ‘Reuniting Families Act’

4th June 2011

I have sworn on the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

–Thomas Jefferson (3rd President of the United States of America, First Secretary of State [Washington Administration])

Gay rights are human rights.

– Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (Former First Lady of the United States)

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

– 9th Amendment of the United States Constitution, quoted from Wikipedia

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

– 10 Amendment of the United States Constitution, quoted from Wikipedia

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond located in the sovereign Commonwealth of Virginia has taken political criticism for flying a rainbow flag (traditionally viewed as a flag denoting support for the LGBT community and, for some, their struggle for equal protection under United States law and/or equal recognition of same sex marriage solemnized and/or legalized in one of the sovereign American States, the District of Columbia, or the Federal territories, if applicable). To quote directly from an article by Olympia Meola posted on the official website of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, TimesDispatch.com:

Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, is asking the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank to remove the rainbow flag flying below the American flag outside of the building, calling its presence “a serious deficiency of judgment by your organization, one not limited to social issues.” In a letter to Richmond Fed President Jeffrey M. Lacker, Marshall says the homosexual behavior “celebrated” by the bank “undermines the American economy…”

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this story in detail in order to gain further insight into this developing situation.

This blogger must pause this analysis for a moment of personal observation. It is intriguing that Delegate Marshall would seem to be trying to scapegoat some of the blame for recent economic events upon the LGBT, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (transsexual, or “third sex“), community. This blogger must retort: how could the LGBT community “undermine” America’s economy? Explain this? Especially since a great deal of economic activity that produces revenue in America comes from married couples trying to make a living, build a home, and start a family. Is it in dispute that marriage and family generate economic benefits for America? If it is not, then the only way the LGBT community could be at fault for some hypothetical economic downturn would seem to arise from the fact that they have not started families (and therefore not generated the concomitant economic activity derived therefrom) due to the fact that they cannot gain the same legal recognition of their relationships in the same way that those in different-sex relationships are able to. This is especially true in the context of same sex bi-national couples as some of these relationships are separated by thousands of miles and jurisdictional boundaries due to the fact that federal enforcement of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) does not allow a same sex bi-national couple to petition for the same US visa benefits (such as the CR1 visa or the IR1 Visa, not to mention the K1 visa which is a US fiance visa) in the same manner as a different sex couple. There are currently American federal legislators such as Representative Mike Honda and Representative Jerrold Nadler who have introduced legislation, such as the Reuniting Families Act, the Uniting American Families Act, and the Respect for Marriage Act; which would, to one degree or another, at least end the current discrimination that the bi-national LGBT community faces when trying to reunite with family in the United States of America. Apparently this Federal Reserve Bank was flying this flag pursuant to a request from another organization which appears dedicated to the cause of LGBT equality:

The flag is being flown at the request of PRISM, a Richmond Fed group representing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees and allies.

This PRISM organization should be commended for their efforts on behalf of the LGBT community, but this blogger must say that he would like to see legislation passed which provides tangible benefits to the LGBT community rather than a gesture from a private corporation which, at least ostensibly, has no role in deciding American policy toward legal recognition of LGBT relationships. Others echoed some of these sentiments, but for what are, in this blogger’s personal opinion, the wrong reasons:

Its presence also prompted mention from Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation in an email release on Wednesday. Although the Federal Reserve is a private entity, it is disappointing to see it participate in this celebration,” she said.

This blogger is always a bit skeptical when a group uses the term “family” when describing themselves as it is usually an indicator that such an organization has its own idea about what the definition of “family” actually is. Concurrently, such organizations are sometimes known to attempt to foist their own paradigm or definition of family upon others who may not necessarily share the same view. Therefore, readers are asked to always conduct their own research on all aspects of such issues in order to form their own well informed opinions.

This blogger must confess that this recent display of support for LGBT equality by the Fed seems a bit disingenuous considering the timing and circumstances. It has recently been reported on some mainstream and alternative media outlets that there are currently worries growing about the state of the American economy. Meanwhile it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the government of China is reported to have diminished their position in United States Treasuries. To quote directly from an article written by Terence P. Jeffrey and posted to the website CNSNews.com:

(CNSNews.com) – China has dropped 97 percent of its holdings in U.S. Treasury bills, decreasing its ownership of the short-term U.S. government securities from a peak of $210.4 billion in May 2009 to $5.69 billion in March 2011, the most recent month reported by the U.S. Treasury. Treasury bills are securities that mature in one year or less that are sold by the U.S. Treasury Department to fund the nation’s debt. Mainland Chinese holdings of U.S. Treasury bills are reported in column 9 of the Treasury report linked here

Readers are strongly encouraged to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this article in full and learn more. This situation is only brought up in the context of this posting to elucidate the fact that the Fed is currently in something of a “pickle”. This news comes upon the heels of recent announcements (noted in a previous posting on this blog) that the USA and China are set to be engaging in cooperative efforts in the context of relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Clearly, current American relations with China and countries in Southeast Asia are multi-facted and complex so those interested in such topics are encouraged to conduct thorough research before forming opinions on issues associated with American, Chinese, and ASEAN economic policies and relations.

It was recently reported on the website Law.com that the Federal Reserve has come under intense scrutiny from legislators such as Representative Ron Paul for current policies supposedly being maintained by the Fed. To quote directly from an insightful article written by Shannon Green and posted on the website Law.com:

The Congressman criticized the Fed for its reluctance to disclose to the public when banks are unhealthy. Paul said the Fed’s practices of protecting banks’ privacy appears to be at odds with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is pushing companies to reveal more information.

Readers are strongly encouraged to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this article in full to gain more context.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with positions held by the various members of House of Representatives is not really relevant to the issue of the Fed’s decision to hoist this particular flag at this particular time. Although it is certainly a commendable gesture, this blogger’s response, with all due respect, must be: why so late, and why now? If the Fed is raising the Rainbow flag because they genuinely support LGBT Equality, then great; but if this institution is simply raising this flag because of political expediency or to score some sort of “political points”, then one must ask: why? Hopefully the LGBT community will see their equal rights fully vested soon and this valid grievance will be redressed. In the meantime, this blogger hopes that the American economy will rebound from any relative downturn to find itself more vibrant and dynamic than ever, but some developments take time. For those personally impacted by the current state of affairs: it is hoped that change will come sooner rather than later.

Readers should note that in the context of same sex marriage this blogger feels that fundamentally the issue of LGBT equality is an individual rights issue as the right to enter into a consensual relationship with whomever one wishes is an inalienable natural right reserved to the People notwithstanding the Constitution, but nevertheless enshrined within the provisions of the 9th and 10th Amendments noted above. The implied right of “free association” has also long been held to provide Constitutional protection for Americans wishing to form intimate associations with others. Concurrently, this blogger feels that where sovereign States have heeded the call of their citizenry to provide government licensure of same sex marriages or marital unions, then that licensure acts as an imprimatur of sovereign recognition which, in this blogger’s opinion, cannot be negated by the federal government and must be accorded Full Faith and Credit by sister States within the Union. Those unfamiliar with the Full Faith and Credit Clause should note that Congress can make rules regarding the effect of State law upon other States, but, in this blogger’s opinion, such law cannot be made to render the States’ laws ineffective, which is the current result of the federal government’s application of some, or all, depending upon circumstance; of the provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act“. This blogger must point out that although same sex couples ought to be able to get Full Faith and Credit for those marriages solemnized and/or legalized in one of the sovereign States of the United States of America, they may not necessarily see States which do not permit same sex marriage in an intrastate context engaging in the legal procedure of divorcing same sex couples as this blogger believes that one must utilize a “horizontal vs. vertical” analysis of the Full Faith and Credit Clause in the context of same sex marriage since there is both an intrastate and interstate component to such an analysis. Such an analysis could, at times, result in a situation where a State Court permits recognition of the fact that a same sex marriage exists in another State jurisdiction, but the Full Faith and Credit Clause’s provisions may not necessarily be interpreted to mean that States should be compelled to grant same sex divorces if the public policy of the State in question does not permit State sanctioned legalization or solemnization of such unions in the first place.

On a side note, this blogger just thought of an interesting hypothetical: could a federal Court with concurrent federal jurisdiction over State territory grant divorces for same sex couples who were married in another State jurisdiction (which allows same sex marriage) if the underlying State’s public policy runs counter to the notion of granting recognition for such unions? It would currently seem that pursuant to the Erie Doctrine the US Courts under such circumstances may be prohibited from undertaking certain functions pertaining to same sex marriages if the underlying State’s law does not recognize such unions. That stated, as of the time of this writing any such analysis remains mere speculation as a broadly binding legal opinion on these issue has yet to be handed down.

Readers interested in learning more about the struggle for LGBT Equality are encouraged to check out UnitingAmericanFamilies.Net, Lez Get Real, and/or the Immigration Equality Action Fund Blog.

For further related information please see: Rainbow Flag or US Company Registration.

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31st May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Republican position regarding same sex marriage in the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) is being analyzed by both media and political observers. To quote directly from a recent article written by Ben Pershing and posted on the website of the Washington Post, WashingtonPost.com:

[D]espite past efforts, Republicans have not mounted an assault this year on the District’s same-sex marriage law: No bill has been introduced to overturn it, nor has any lawmaker publicly sought support from colleagues for such a measure.

Those unfamiliar with the United States Constitution are wise to take note of the fact that the United States Congress is responsible for administering the American capitol city. The scope of such jurisdiction extends to matters which in the context of a sovereign State could be viewed as intrastate issues. However, as the District of Columbia is substantially different in nature from sovereign States the same legal rules and analysis that applies to States may not apply to the District. To quote further from the aforementioned article:

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he knew of no campaign to repeal the law. “My committee has no intention at this time of overturning gay marriage,” Issa said this month, although he later clarified that he was speaking for himself as chairman and not for individual lawmakers. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), now chairman of the D.C. oversight subcommittee, responded similarly Tuesday. He said that he would support a bill to overturn the same-sex marriage law if one were introduced but that he had no interest in spearheading such an effort. “I was not elected to be D.C. mayor, and I don’t aspire to be,” Gowdy said, echoing a previous comment by him on local issues. The fact that no Republican has introduced a bill this year could be a sign that the majority plans to use a different tactic…

The administration of this weblog strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to view this article in its entirety.

The observations noted above go to the heart of any analysis of the current struggle for the LGBT community to gain at least some modicum of equal protection pursuant to United States law. In a previous posting on this blog it was noted that in order for the LGBT community to hope to see passage of legislation such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), the Respect for Marriage Act, or the Reuniting Families Act broad based bipartisan support may prove crucial. That stated, it would appear that where once there was stiff resistance toward a compassionate or tolerant policy towards the LGBT community, now there are signs of something of a “thaw” on the right especially as States’ Rights issues have been raised regarding the Constitutionality of the current application of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA).

Currently, sovereign American States such as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have heeded the call of their Citizenry and taken measures to legalize, solemnize, and/or recognize same sex marriages or marital unions. Notwithstanding this fact, the United States federal government still will not accord federal benefits (including immigration benefits) even to those legally married in a sovereign American jurisdiction.

It is this blogger’s opinion that the issue of same sex marriage in the United States may ultimately be resolved by activity emanating from US Courts, especially if a case on point is heard by the United States Supreme Court. This blogger forms this opinion after contemplating the issues associated with Full Faith and Credit and the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution. Bearing this in mind, the reader is urged to remember that these issues have yet to see full resolution.

Meanwhile, it would appear that activists in the international LGBT community are taking steps to secure further equality in other parts of the world as The Nation newspaper’s print edition in Thailand reports that LGBT activists are seeking political support for the cause of same-sex marriage in the lead up to Thai elections. To quote directly from the Nation’s official website, NationMultimedia.com:

Rights activists for the so-called “third sex” – gays, lesbians and transsexuals – have urged political parties to allow a same-sex marriage law. Natee Teerarojjanapongs, president of the Sexual Diversity Group and the Gay Political Group of Thailand, and transsexual singer known as Jim Sarah (Sujinrat Prachathai) said yesterday they would visit the Democrat and Pheu Thai parties today to submit a letter asking them to issue such a law for the “third gender” if they lead the next government…Their groups will seek commitments from the parties and say they will reward promises of action by campaigning for votes among their supporters…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more from this insightful and well written article.

Readers should be aware of the fact that the Kingdom of Thailand is one of the most tolerant jurisdictions on the face of the Earth when it comes to matters pertaining to LGBT issues. As a tourist and recreational destination, Thailand ranks among the top tier of destinations frequented by the LGBT individuals and couples as Thailand boasts a vibrant LGBT community. That stated, under Thai law in its current form same sex marriage is not recognized. Therefore, it is not possible for a same sex couple to register a Thai marriage at, say, an Amphur Office (Civil Registrar Office), in the same manner as a different-sex couple. As noted above, Thai advocates may be taking measures in the near term to change this state of affairs. How this issue will play out in the run up to a Thai election remains to be seen, but it may prove interesting.

In analyzing United States immigration in a Thai context the reader should note that if Thailand began allowing registration of same sex marriage and the United States passed legislation such as the aforementioned UAFA it is conceivable in the future that a same sex bi-national Thai-American couple could register their marriage in Thailand and thereby use that marriage as a basis for seeking American immigration benefits such as a K3 visa, CR1 visa, or an IR1 visa. That stated, such a scenario would require a departure from current law and policy.

For related information please see: US Visa Thailand or K1 Visa Thailand.

more Comments: 04

27th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has called for the nomination of a candidate for the post of IMF Managing Director who hails from Asia or a developing nation. To quote directly from a very interesting article apparently written by Umesh Pandey and posted on the official website of the Bangkok Post, BangkokPost.com:

TOKYO : Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan has called on Asian countries to jointly nominate a candidate for the post of managing director of the International Monetary Fund. As the leading engine of global economic growth, Asia needs to assert itself in the way international institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF operate, Mr Surin said yesterday. “The time is for Asia to field a candidate and it doesn’t have to be an Asian. They could be a member of a Third World country but not the European Union and they surely must not be a North American,” said the Asean chief.

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks noted above to gain further insight into this developing story.

Clearly, the economies which comprise the ASEAN community are becoming increasingly important in a global context. This fact coupled with the fact that there seems to be little tangible reason why the IMF directorship should continue to be exclusively held by a European leaves one to wonder what the nationality of future IMF directors will be. It seems both likely and logical that an Asian will eventually take the helm of the International Monetary Fund, but the question remains: when? Hopefully this question will one day be answered to the satisfaction of all concerned.

On a somewhat unrelated note, it also came to this blogger’s attention that a United States Senator has recently introduced legislation to provide immigration benefits to families of America’s brave servicemen and women. To quote directly from an article written by Elise Foley and posted on the Huffington Post website, HuffingtonPost.com:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Robert Menendez introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow the immigrant parents, spouses and children of active duty military service members to gain legal status, part of a push by Democrats to allow small sectors of the undocumented population to avoid deportation. “I just can’t believe that you can risk your life for America, and America can’t let you stay united with your family,” the New Jersey Democrat said at a press conference. “It seems to me that’s more than a fair trade-off.” The Military Families Act, which so far has zero Republican supporters, would grant legal permanent residence to the immediate family members of military men and women in active duty…

Readers are urged to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more from this insightful and interesting article.

This blogger was relieved to hear that Senator Robert Menendez has taken up the cause of America’s military families as it is unfortunate that current law and regulation can sometimes result in adverse consequences for alien family members of those serving in the United States Armed Forces. Hopefully the proposed legislation will create a more compassionate immigration environment for the families of American Armed Forces personnel. It should be noted that those non-US Citizens serving in the American military are often eligible for expedited immigration benefits including, but not necessarily limited, expedited naturalization to United States Citizenship.

Those who read this blog with any frequency may also be aware that there is currently legislation being proposed in the American federal legislature which would go far in uniting American same-sex bi-national families. The passage of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), the Reuniting Families Act, and/or the Respect for Marriage Act would likely result in changes to relevant American law thereby allowing those who have entered into a same sex marriage, or similar marital union, to obtain federal benefits (including immigration benefits) in the same manner as their different-sex counterparts. How this legislation will fare in the current legislature remains to be seen, but hopefully passage of such legislation, along with the Military Families Act, will result in a tangible benefit to all American families.

For related information please see: Certificate of Naturalization.

more Comments: 04

23rd May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that one of the American Senators from the sovereign State of New York has been interviewed regarding United States Immigration and the ramifications of current policies upon the LGBT community.  To quote directly from the website of the Immigration Equality Action Fund:

In a wide-ranging new interview with reporter Andrew Harmon at The Advocate, United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) talks about the future of LGBT-inclusive immigration reform, as well as her own experiences as the American half of a binational marriage. Gillibrand – who has been a staunch supporter of LGBT equality – recently joined eleven other Senate colleagues in calling on the Obama Administration to halt the deportation of LGBT spouses…

The administration of this web log strongly recommend that readers click upon the hyperlinks above to learn more about this interesting interview. It is truly fortunate that Senator Gillibrand and her eleven colleagues have taken this position in support of bi-national LGBT spouses.

For those who are unfamiliar with the current plight of the LGBT community in America it should be noted that multiple sovereign States as well as the District of Columbia allow same sex marriage or same sex marital union. That stated, the provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) prohibit the United States Federal government from recognizing such unions. Therefore, same sex couples are not permitted to obtain the same federal benefits as their different-sex counterparts. As a result, many same sex bi-national couples are separated from one another because they cannot obtain the same federal immigration benefits as their different sex counterparts. At present, there is currently legislation pending before the federal legislature which would alleviate some or all of these legal problems. Such legislation includes, but may not be limited to: the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), the Reuniting Families Act, and the Respect for Marriage Act. It is notable that the State of New York has more than one member of its delegation in support of LGBT-friendly legislation as Representative Jerrold Nadler has recently supported and introduced legislation to ameliorate the discrimination currently imposed upon same sex couples by relevant federal American law.

Meanwhile, it would appear as though issues associated with same sex marriage visas are not the only things on the minds of Americans concerned about U.S. Immigration policy as it recently came to this blogger’s attention that a well regarded attorney from the United States recently commented upon the Diversity Visa Lottery. To quote directly from Greg Siskind on the website ILW.com:

I’ve always had mixed feelings about the annual green card lottery. On the one hand, shouldn’t our green card numbers be going to high priority family and employment categories that are backlogged as opposed to people who randomly are selected and may have few skills to offer and aren’t reuniting with family here? Political scientist Yascha Mounk makes the case for keeping the lottery, however, in an opinion piece in today’s New York Times.

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to learn more.

It has always been this blogger’s opinion that the Diversity Visa Lottery Program is a positive aspect of the current American immigration system. That stated, it would certainly be nice to see the reunification of both different-sex and same-sex families in the future. Hopefully, one day we will see both.

For related information please see: US Visa Thailand or Full Faith and Credit Clause.

more Comments: 04

13th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that a Congressman from the sovereign State of California has recently introduced legislation which is designed to improve the current American immigration system. It would appear that one of the proposed improvements would also provide immigration benefits to same sex bi-national couples. To quote directly from the Washington Blade at WashingtonBlade.com:

A U.S. House member from California on Thursday introduced family immigration legislation that includes language allowing gay Americans to sponsor their foreign partners for residency in the United States. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) introduced the Reuniting Families Act, which has a provision that would protect bi-national same-sex couples as one of its six prongs to keep families together in the country.

Readers of this web log are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks above to find out further details on this unfolding story.

This blogger personally found it interesting that this bill would also address grievances held by Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) and their families. To quote further from the aforementioned article:

In addition to including UAFA-like language, Honda’s legislation would help shorten the wait times that can keep legal immigrants and their overseas loved ones separated for years. The bill would classify spouses and children of permanent U.S. residents as “immediate relatives” and exempt them from numerical caps on immigration.

It is genuinely unfortunate that some find themselves caught up in the immigration process for substantial periods of time awaiting adjudication of their immigration and visa matters.

Those unfamiliar with the provisions of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), as recently re-introduced in the Federal legislature by Representative Jerrold Nadler, should note that this legislation would circumvent the current provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) which currently separates a large number of bi-national couples since the federal government will not recognize same sex unions for purposes of distributing federal benefits. Upon enactment of legislation similar to that noted above, same sex bi-national couples could be eligible to receive American immigration benefits in the form of travel documents such as the K-1 visa (US fiance visa) or the CR-1 visa (US Marriage Visa). Currently same-sex couples cannot obtain these immigration benefits in the same manner as their different-sex counter parts. This is true in spite of the fact that multiple sovereign American States currently solemnize, legalize, and/or recognize same sex marriage or marital unions. As can be gathered from previous postings on this blog, this state of affairs is questionably Constitutional and for that reason there are currently cases arising in the State of California and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which would overturn at least portions of DOMA.

It is heartening to see more legislators joining the struggle for further equality in America. Readers and proponents of this legislation can, at this time, only hope that further action will be taken in Washington D.C. to see that the current valid grievances of the LGBT community are redressed.

For those interested in learning more about this legislation please check out the official website of Representative Mike Honda.

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