Nadler Applauds Senator Leahy's Introduction of Permanent Partners Immigration Act

Jul 31, 2003

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today praised Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for introducing The Permanent Partners Immigration Act in the Senate. This legislation, which is the companion to Nadler's bill in the House, would extend benefits enjoyed by legal marriages under the U.S. Immigration Law to couples in permanent partnerships.

"I am troubled by the President's comments indicating his desire to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriages. Calling for such a measure only exacerbates prejudice when we should be promoting values such as tolerance and respect," said Nadler.

"The Permanent Partners Immigration Act would revise current immigration laws that do not include gay and lesbian couples in the definition of the family. Why do we allow the government to tear apart committed and loving couples just because of who they love? The answer is that there is no excuse for this gratuitous cruelty, and this bill would correct that," said Nadler.

The most prominent feature of The Permanent Partners Immigration Act would allow United States citizens who are in a permanent partnership with a lawful permanent resident to sponsor their partners for immigration purposes, just as any legal spouse would. Because there is no legally recognized marriage between gay and lesbian couples under the immigration law, many bi-national permanent partnerships are torn apart when one partner moves to the United States and the other is not allowed.

While the bill will afford the same immigration benefits to permanent partnerships that those who contract a legal marriage receive, it will also apply the same restrictions and enforcement standards. For example, if a person is found to have entered into a fraudulent permanent partnership for the purposes of obtaining a visa for another person, they will be subject to the same five year maximum imprisonment or $250,000 fine, or both, as a person who contracts a fraudulent marriage would.

"This bill demands that people in same-sex partnerships receive equal treatment to those who can get legally married," said Nadler. "It is simply a matter of fairness."

Nadler has served in Congress since 1992 and has worked on many issues of importance to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. He represents the 8th District of New York, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.