Integrity Legal

16th Jun 2009

The White House has been under increasing pressure since Obama’s inauguration to provide equal benefits to same sex couples under United States law. Recently Hillary Clinton reversed previous State Department policy by providing same sex partners of State Department employees with most of the benefits extended to different sex couples (including diplomatic passports for partners).

From the Associated Press: “President Barack Obama, under growing criticism for not seeking to end the ban on openly gay men and women in the military, is extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.”

The question is: will Obama go further in extending benefits to same-sex couples? Specifically, does Obama feel that this gesture is enough to placate the Gay community or will he go further in fulfilling the campaign promises calling for greater equality?

Of particular importance from an Immigration perspective: will the Uniting American Families Act be passed? This law would provide equalized immigration benefits for same-sex couples. Under the Defense of Marriage Act same sex couples are barred from receiving many of the immigration benefits accorded to different sex couples.

The feeling of many American Immigration Lawyers is that UAFA, or some bill similar to the UAFA, will eventually become law. The question is: when?

Hopefully for these families who are being kept apart by Immigration restrictions the UAFA will pass sooner rather than later. The task now is to keep pressure on politicians to pass the legislation. Many believe that Comprehensive Immigration Reform will have some sort of UAFA-like provision rolled into it. This would probably be the most expedient way of dealing with the same-sex immigration situation. However, there is the possibility that a concession such as adding “permanent partner” to the list of those eligible for family immigration benefits, as called for in UAFA, could be cast aside in a committee room or in back room “horse trading” in an effort to save CIR.

The fate of the Uniting American Families Act remains to be seen, but hopefully this legislation will pass. Until the day it is signed into law, no one can say for sure if same-sex immigration benefits will ever be granted

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2 Responses to “Obama to Extend Federal Benefits to Same Sex Couples. What About UAFA?”

  1. Michael says:

    Let’s hope that UAFA or another similar bill becomes Law.
    It is the right and fair thing to do.
    Our Constitution clear advocates for Freedom for ALL; and the right of each American Citizen to pursue his/her happiness.
    It is not fair, that the current system does not allow an American citizen the right to establish loving relationships and instead has places them in the position to chose between their families and their country.

  2. Jose S. says:

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