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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Immigration equality

Last night Rachel Tiven, the director of Immigration Equality, was a guest on Bill O'Reilly's show on Fox News.

Bless her heart.

Immigration Equality is the organization working for the rights of gay and lesbian and HIV+ immigrants to the United States. This means they are working at the nexus of two burning issues in the U.S. today, or, to put it another way, two hated groups: LGBT people, and immigrants.

Until about 1990, gay and lesbian people were banned from entering the U.S.--even as visitors. (A booklet printed in 1989 explained that you are not allowed to cross the border of the United States if "you are mentally ill or homosexual," even though homosexuality had not been classed as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association since 1973!) This ban still applies today to people with HIV.

There has been a bill floating around Congress for years that would enable thousands of U.S. citizens to sponsor their same-sex partners, instead of what happens to us now--deportations, bannings, and families and livelihoods abandoned as we have to leave our country. Every year, many of us come to Canada. Not because our partners are Canadian, but because a third country is the only way.

If you need options now, check out Immigration Equality.

If you are an American with a minute on your hands, go to their site and ask your members of Congress to pass this bill.

Thank you.

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