DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) came out strongly in support of equality for same sex binational couples last night at Immigration Equality’s annual reception in Washington, DC, calling the struggle for full equality for LGBT people “the defining civil rights struggle of our generation.”
Wasserman Schultz was joined by Bradford Wells and Anthony Makk (an Australian citizen), who were married in Massachusetts but cannot qualify for immigration rights because of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Makk, who wants to remain in the U.S. legally and not simply because the Administration is not enforcing deportation orders, cannot leave the country under any circumstances — even the death of his father — or else he would be barred from returning.
Wells told Raw Story, “I’ve asked the President, Secretary Napolitano, anyone, to please hold our application [for Makk's spousal green card] in abeyance” until DOMA is overturned, which would allow Makk to travel abroad and return like any other spouse of an American citizen.
Though Wasserman Schultz didn’t join colleagues on a letter to DHS circulated by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) asking for all same sex spouse green card applications to be held in abeyance, she told Raw Story that she simply wasn’t asked. “I support them being put in abeyance,” Wasserman Schultz said.
Wasserman Schultz doesn’t hold out much hope for congressional action on immigration rights for same sex couples, despite being a co-sponsor of a bill that would provide those rights. “With Republicans controlling the House of Representatives, I am not confident that this will become law” before 2012, she told reporters.
Wasserman Schultz nonetheless feels strongly that supports in Congress and the Administration should press ahead. “No one should be forced to self-exile from the United States in search of more freedom,” she said. “We shouldn’t have one kind of future with unlimited possibilities reserved for straight kids and another future with limited possibilities for gay kids,” she added.
But she did offer some hope: “LGBT equality is not an aspiration, it’s a destination.”
Megan Carpentier is the executive editor of Raw Story. She previously served as an associate editor at Talking Points Memo; the editor of news and politics at Air America; an editor at Jezebel.com; and an associate editor at Wonkette. Her published works include pieces for the Washington Post, the Washington Independent, Ms Magazine, RH Reality Check, the Women's Media Center, On the Issues, the New York Press, Bitch and Women's eNews.
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