Immigration advocates to gays: We’re just not that into you

I can’t shake the feeling that the gay community is about to be bait-and-switched by immigration advocates.

There is now open talk of throwing gay binational couples under the immigration reform bus in order to “save” immigration reform for Latinos and a small percentage of Asians.

You see, gays are just too controversial – they give politicians cooties. So, it’s best not to touch our issues in immigration reform.  Though immigration groups are still happy to ask gay rights groups and advocates to spend their money, time, and political chits helping to pass legislation that specifically excludes us, as a gesture of “solidarity.”  Solidarity with people who may be ready to throw us under a bus.

An interesting definition of solidarity.

Gay rights are immigration rights!

I started getting the feeling that something was amiss several months ago, when a clearly-coordinated chorus of “gay rights are immigration rights, and immigration rights are gay rights!” erupted from a number of blogs and organizations, at the same time the national gay rights groups suddenly became the biggest-supporters-ever of immigration reform.

It just struck me as odd, that out of nowhere, in concert, a small chorus of everyone had suddenly decided that immigration reform was the GAYEST THING EVER, even though it didn’t include the one immigration provision that gay advocates had been pushing for years.

Gay groups have been bought off before

It got me wondering if the large gay groups hadn’t been yet again bought off by a large donor, in this case one that gives immigration grants.  It’s happened before to both GLAAD and NLGTF.  And it also got me worrying that immigration groups had perhaps too-well copied the successful strategies and tactics that gay rights advocates had used to pressure the Obama administration and Congress into action these past few years.  But rather than simply copying our strategies and tactics, I started wondering if immigration advocates had instead stolen our mantle, but dropped our substance.

It was a difficult notion to dispel.  A lead DREAM activist recent takes over one of the lead gay grassroots groups at the same time a unified chorus starts claiming, out of nowhere, with no real scientific substantiation, that immigration reform will help nearly a quarter of a million gay people.

The magical 267,000 and the magical immigration donor

If you wondered how they came up with this magical number of gay people helped by immigration reform, you’re not alone.  In short, there is no real data.  It’s a guess.  An educated one, but still a guess. (And, imagine that – the “institute” that just came up with this magical number of gay undocumented immigrants has received funding from the same immigration donor, Haas, as the top gay groups who also only recently, and magically, became emphatic supporters of immigration reform.)

At its core, they started with polls showing the percent of LGBT people in the American population and then extrapolated out to immigrants, with a few adjustments.  So since there are around 3% gay, bi, lesbian and trans people in the US, by some conservative polls, there must be the same number among undocumented immigrants.

Uh, maybe.  Maybe not.  Even the institute that came up with the number admits, “data that directly assess the number of these undocumented immigrants who identify as LGBT do not exist.”

Are the Bush tax cuts now “gay”?

But let’s pretend for a moment that the numbers do exist, and are correct. And that, in essence, gays are represented in undocumented immigration populations in the same proportion that they are represented in American society at large (a pretty mighty assumption).  Does that make immigration reform gay?

As much as it makes the Bush tax cuts “gay” since 3% of US taxpayers are likely LGBT.

It’s a safe bet that pretty much every piece of legislation affecting Americans will affect gay Americans too.  Tax cuts? Gay. Entitlement reform? Gay. Sequester?  Gay. National Ice Cream day? Really gay.

Less gay is more, losing is winning

But there’s something far more troubling than simply watering down what it means for legislation to be “gay.”  This new, all-encompassing definition of “gay” – i.e., any legislation that impacts gay Americans to the same percentage, or more, than they exist in the US population at large – is being used to actually make legislation LESS gay.

Think about it.  If immigration reform is “already” gay because it allegedly helps a quarter of a million gay undocumented immigrants, then how much of the gayness of bill is diminished by chucking 28,500 binational gay couples?  That’s still another quarter of a million gays being helped, so whoopee, we won!

Let me walk you through this, because it really is ingenious – evil ingenious, but ingenious nonethless.

1. Gay groups for years have been fighting to pass immigration reform legislation, called UAFA, that would help 28,500 binational couples, where one partner is American and the other is not, thus the non-American partner is not permitted to stay in the US as even if they get “married” it’s not recognized by the federal government.

2. Now, suddenly, we’re told that immigration reform might not only help 28,500 gays, it will help an additional 267,000 gays.  Wow, that’s even better – it’s ten times better!

3. But, oh – wait a minute.  There’s a bit of a glitch.  You see, we need to drop the 28,500 gays because they’re too toxic, and they make the Republicans cry.  But hey, no harm no foul, we’ve still got 267,000 gays being helped by the bill, nearly ten times the number of gays being dropped.  So that’s still pretty darn good, right?

Well, it depends how you define “good.”

Up until a few months ago, “the” gay immigration goal was to pass UAFA, helping the 28,500 binational couples.  But now, we’re currently heading in the direction of UAFA being toast, along with the 28,500 couples it’s intended to help.

So, while immigration advocates are suddenly claiming that immigration reform is gayer-than-ever, even without UAFA, in fact, we are about to lose everything we’ve been fighting for, as gay rights advocates, in this legislation.  But, by moving the goal posts, suddenly a 100% loss becomes a 90% victory!

What precedent are we setting for future gay rights victories, and losses?

If I were suspicious by nature, I’d almost think that this effort to claim that a quarter of a million gays were being helped by immigration reform was planned in order to provide cover for dropping gays from immigration reform.

And if that happens, what other pieces of legislation will gays now be cut from, only to be told that our defeat is actually our biggest victory ever because 3% of those being helped in the bill are still LGBT?  It’s really quite a nefarious precedent.

But it’s even worse than that.  Gays are now being told that if they don’t back down, if they don’t give up on their efforts to include UAFA in immigration reform, it will be our fault that immigration reform fails. How so?  Because Marco Rubio and the Republicans hate gays so much, they’ve told Democrats they’ll just kill the bill if it’s truly comprehensive reform that helps all Americans, including gay Americans.

Marco Rubio needs us more than we need him

To the suggestion that Marco Rubio will kill immigration reform if the gay is permitted in, I say, yeah right.  The Republicans are desperate for an immigration reform bill, as they’ve only recently come to realize that they’ve so ticked off Latinos – a huge and growing voting bloc – that if they don’t pass immigration reform, they may never win the White House again.

So, when you hear a Republican say “we’ll just kill immigration reform,” keep in mind why they came to the table in the first place.  Because they’re in an electoral panic. From Jonathan Rauch writing in the Daily Beast:

Really? Republicans will deep-six the entire effort and demolish themselves with Latino voters, business interests, and young people to prevent gay people from having someone to take care of them?…

Gay-rights advocates are correct to force the issue by demanding an amendment adding partner immigration to the reform bill now moving through the Senate. They are right to expect their Democratic friends, including President Obama, to support the effort and thereby to force Republicans to announce their priorities. Just how much electoral support and moral standing does the GOP want to give up to affirm its hostility to homosexuals? The results would be, let us say, clarifying.

Not the least of the panicked is Marco Rubio himself.  Rubio wants to be president in 2016, and he’s looking for a way to convince America’s largely-Democratic Latino voters that supporting a far-right Republican is actually in their interest. Rubio needs immigration reform more than all of the Republicans put together.

KISS ME!  I’m a diseased pariah!


A famous AIDS button from the late 80s, early 90s. My friend Paul Clark had a t-shirt with this design that he used to love wearing in Billings, MT in 1991. Paul got a chuckle out of people complementing him on his “Mickey Mouse” shirt without having a clue what it actually meant.

There’s a second nefarious precedent being set by immigration advocates, Democrats, and gay groups who are all, I fear, silently on board with this strategy of throwing UAFA overboard.  They are accepting the Republican charge that gays are toxic, that our issues are too controversial, that America isn’t yet ready for our civil rights and our full equality, and worse, that our allies and elected officials – and our very civil rights groups – aren’t ready either.

If we “take one for the team” (a team, mind you, that doesn’t seem terribly interested in taking one for us) and kill UAFA in order to appease GOP hostage-takers, where will it end?

Are Republicans going to be less, or more, prone in the future to take yet another gay hostage, and another, and another, in order to force Democrats and the progressive-partner-of-the-day to throw us under the bus and further rupture the Democratic coalition that propelled Barack Obama to the presidency, twice?

If gay rights advocates accept the “fact” that we’re just too toxic for immigration reform, when will we ever not be toxic?

Not to mention, is the gay community really ready to accept in 2013 that we are still such political pariahs that our only option is to bow our heads in shame and slink to the back of class, lest our ickiness rub off on our friends?

This is a horrible precedent

I think this is a horrible precedent: Joining a coalition that doesn’t seem terribly interested in coalescing around you.  And worse yet, is outright redefining the definition of success in order to better cut you out of that success.  It’s political genius. But it’s not very gay.

I have no problem with Latinos trying to get legislation passed to permit their family and friends, who came to the US under less-than-optimal means, to stay (80% of undocumented immigrants in the US are Latin American, while 58%  alone are from Mexico).  I’ve even overlooked the fact that my foreign-national Latino friends, who came here legally – including a former flame who was a Colombian doctor doing cancer research at NIH, and even that couldn’t earn him permission to stay – didn’t get to remain in the US.

I have a harder time, however, overlooking the fact that I’m being asked to help on legislation that doesn’t help – can’t be bothered to help – me and mine.  And I’m particularly bothered by the fact that gay binational couples won’t benefit from this legislation because they made the “mistake” of coming to the US legally, and thinking that immigration reform would address their needs, when it increasingly looks like it will not, expressly because they’re “gay” and chose not to break the law.

Immigration advocates, Democrats, and gay rights groups had better hope that the Supreme Court overturns DOMA and “fixes” this problem (and there is no guarantee that will happen).  But in the mean time, if our groups and our allies capitulate to Marco Rubio’s political hostage-taking, the damage to the gay rights movement, and to relations with our progressive allies, will be harder to undo, regardless of what the Supreme Court finally decides.

UPDATE: Weak statement from the White House, which goes along with my entire point above. No one is going to fight for us.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

Share This Post

174 Responses to “Immigration advocates to gays: We’re just not that into you”

  1. Oops :) Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Yes, but it was a poor one, because legislators never had the balls to touch that other issue on their own.

  3. Moderator4 says:

    Duplicate comment deleted, frizbeesf.

  4. frizbeesf says:

    I truly hope Leahy and Durbin call McCain and Graham’s bluff. Look at the actual math from the last two… heck.. the last 3 elections.. The Republicans will never win over Blacks, and Women, so they are desperate, yes… DESPERATE to have something they can show to Latinos and Asians and say “See! Look ! We really don’t hate you .. Honest Injun! Ooopps!……. We mean… swear to Baby Jeebus!”

    So I say add the LGBT inclusion amendment, and let Senators Grandpa Simpson , Closet Case Smithers, Marco Watergate Rubio, hold their breath and stomp their widdle feet threatening to kill it, but watch them cave when it’s time to vote. NONE of these guys want to go back to their home states and have to admit they would rather hurt over 11 million Latinos and Asians than allow any help for 240,000 Gays. Good Luck with that guys!

  5. Guest says:

    I truly hope Leahy and Durbin call the McCain and Graham’s bluff. Look at the actual math from the last two… heck.. the last 3 elections.. The Republicans will never win over Blacks, and Women, so they are desperate, yes… DESPERATE to have something they can show to Latinos and Asians and say “See! Look ! We really don’t hate you .. Honest Injun! Ooopps!……. We mean… swear to Baby Jeebus!”

    So I say add the LGBT inclusion amendment, and let Senators Grandpa Simpson , Closet Case Smithers, Marco Watergate Rubio, hold their breath and stomp their widdle feet threatening to kill it, but watch them cave when it’s time to vote. NONE of these guys want to go back to their home states and have to admit they would rather hurt over 11 million Latinos and Asians than allow any help for 240,000 Gays. Good Luck with that guys!

  6. frizbeesf says:

    LOL Denis that was not directed AT you .. I was saying you might need it to filter through the responses you get! :)

  7. How is that relevant to my comment? Time and time again, Obama has compromised instead of standing up for progressive values.

    I was agreeing with John.

  8. I would be speaking of the movement as a whole. not you personally. I also have been working for civil rights since the 60s but I was in fields with other farmworkers. Why is it necessary to attempt to slam body’s experience. I have seen more racism, sexism and homophobia in the gay community than anywhere else. That is my experience. If you were lucky enough to have a better experience then good for you. Shame on you for attempting to denigrate any experience that doesn’t match your own.

  9. WarrenHart says:

    Wonder if John will update this story with President Obama’s latest comments? lol just kidding.

  10. WarrenHart says:

    The only open talk about throwing gay bi national couples under the bus is what Republicans have said for instance when Marco Rubio said “If that issue is injected into this bill, this bill will fail. It will not have the support. It will not have my support.”.

  11. karmanot says:

    Sweet pea, if that’s your experience you need to get your face of the road after the end of the parade has passed you by.

  12. karmanot says:

    Honey, the Obozo’s have put so many in the back of the bus for future consideration it broke the axle.

  13. karmanot says:


  14. karmanot says:

    Indeed! Totally overlooks the ‘Bachmann factor.’

  15. Papa Bear says:

    Now, wait a minute, be fair — they’re not into anyone (of the 99%), except as political pawns….

  16. karmanot says:

    Using the Kinsey scale, how did we go from 25% to ten percent? :-)

  17. karmanot says:

    I like the image of Obozo as the The Marquis st. Evremonde of the Beltway.

  18. karmanot says:

    Exactly. Obozo is beyond our wrath, but primary Demos must pay for these betrayals.

  19. karmanot says:

    —-Been saying this for ages to much derision: Obama like Clinton just isn’t into us except as political pawns. Neither of these Democrats gives a good G’D about the actual lives and aspirations of the GLTBQ communities, who helped him get elected.

  20. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I don’t think I have ever accepted that number. I live in Minneapolis where the numbers are skewed in the opposite direction, but I just cannot believe the 3% that is constantly out there.

  21. BeccaM says:

    Sure is. And yeah, tons of guest-worker abuse — not to mention another couple hundred thousand highly-educated American citizens displaced by cheaper H1-Bs. Sure, they say wages are supposed to be boosted for these professional-level guest workers, but the incentives are ass-backwards.

    What’s especially hilarious is how they keep referring to the path-to-citizenship charges explicitly and repeatedly as ‘fines,’ the penalties assessed for employers who underpay their L-1s and H1-Bs or who hire too many of them or who fail to prefer U.S. citizens over handing out the visa green-cards are universally labeled ‘fees.’

  22. FLL says:

    It’s going to be a long, hot summer.

  23. BeccaM says:

    I’ve read over the summary on Scribd via TPM, and as near as I can tell roughly 75% of the bill is for the corporations and agri-business. Increased H1-B visas (nearly triple the current number), formalizing guest laborer rules, along with lots of immigration and visa enforcement pork.

    The other 25% is the well-reported decade-long path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. And reading through the provisions there, I’d wager most of it was drafted with the GOPers on the ‘Gang of Eight’ commission arguing with themselves over just how much nastiness and gratuitous legal abuse they could get away with before the Latino immigrant communities realized they were getting a crap sandwich.

    Those ‘principles’ of President Obama apparently do not rise to the level of considering gay and lesbian American citizens to be equal to heterosexuals, or to correcting a cruel and unjust law.

  24. FLL says:

    Thank you for the update, John. From Carney’s statement:

    “And we have said that we support that provision, but we also think it’s very important to recognize that the overall bill here accomplishes what the President believes needs to be accomplished and is in keeping with his principles.”

    And what, exactly, are those principles? Hopefully, the media, both progressive and mainstream, will raise its voice in protest because Obama has just one hot chance to change course before the Senate committee marks up the bill next week. It’s obvious that marking up the bill in a fair way is doable since the votes in the committee are there and Obama is negotiating with senators right now. The alternative is driving the car off the cliff, which would result in a very messy second term.

  25. BeccaM says:

    Yeah, well, it seems HRC and their Villager ilk always want to be on record as being on the right side of LGBT civil rights issues, but as soon as there’s any risk of progress or success, they go dark, turn all concern troll-y, and/or take the position that the latest betrayal is actually some kind of moral victory.

    This “any immigration bill is a gay rights bill” BS is right out their playbook.

  26. FLL says:

    I was honest when I made no prediction, but only said that Obama would only have himself to blame if there was an eruption of discontent, protest, and non-stop unflattering media attention. If same-sex binational couples are thrown to the wolves, that leaves virtually nothing of note to be accomplished in the area of civil rights during the long, long remainder of his second term. Why is our schmuck president so keen on imitating the weakness and short-sightedness of Louis XVI? Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. But whose fault is that?

  27. Papa Bear says:

    were you letting them go stale first? Mamma Bear insists that’s the correct way. Unfortunately, she says that this year, they’ve changed something — none of her Easter Peeps have gone stale yet!

  28. BeccaM says:

    Re: John’s update about the official White House statement that the gay rights UAFA provision is preferable but not necessary–

    Funny, I remember exactly the same language from Obama’s White House and the president himself about the public insurance option for health care reform.

    Which tells us bi-national immigration rights for gay and lesbian couples was already traded away weeks, if not months ago. Probably for the higher cap on H1-B visas, which corporatists and their Dem neo-liberal lackeys love way more than justice for law-abiding gay and lesbian American citizens being forced to choose between country or family, divorce or exile.

  29. FLL says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the people on the HRC board of directors take their marching orders from the same ilk that threw anti-bullying provisions out of the education bill that Congress passed a year or two ago. (No one has forgotten that vile piece of treachery.) Griffin might ignore the HRC board of directors, which would take a lot of balls, or he might begin to mimic their past cowardice, or he might resign. It’ll be interesting to see.

  30. FLL says:

    I always thought Kinsey was more realistic than most people because his estimates were based on face-to-face interviews. The results he got were obviously more accurate than asking someone to check off on a paperform whether they were straight, gay or bi. Most people will lie from here to the moon when they use the paper-form method, but Kinsey’s interview method actually produced honest results. His scale was from 1 to 6. Kinsey very reasonably added the 1s and 2s together and said that group was straight. He added the 5s and 6s together (which was a total of 10%) and said that group was gay. The 3s and 4s, added together, was the bisexual group. Most people to this very day think his methodology was reasonable.

    Keep in mind, however, that even though Kinsey’s results were accurate, they were a description of the United States during the late 1940s, which is hardly a universal. From millennium to millennium and from culture to culture, things swing back and forth (um, so to speak). Modern historians are likely to guess that during most of the Roman Empire, the proportion of hetero and homo sexual activity was much closer to 50-50. The Christian reign of terror lasted from the late fourth century until (LOL) just several years ago—1600 years—and Kinsey’s data from the late 1940s were right in the middle of that reign of terror.

  31. It’s total bullshit. These are people willing to tell a stranger they’re gay. Hardly indicative of how many people are gay. It’s really insulting how we’ve accepted “out enough to tell a stranger” with “total number of gay people.”

  32. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Let me belatedly add that I never, ever see the above kind of condescending comment directed by non-Jewish Democrats at Jewish Democrats. But there is this dysfunctional attitude among too many heterosexual Democrats that they somehow have some entitlement to smugly lord over gay Democrats. I assume it stems from the decades when they were able to do that with impunity. Regardless, some of us are no longer willing to tolerate it.

  33. BeccaM says:

    John was being conservative. 3% are the self-identified out-of-the-closet gays. 5-10% is the estimated number if combined with those in the closet, doin’ it on the down-low, and/or in deep denial. People like Larry Craig, Jeff Gannon, Ted Haggard, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, George Rekers, etc.

    I’d imagine the higher number would also include people like myself who are admittedly and comfortably Bi, but who nevertheless lean somewhat on the Kinsey Scale towards the gay range and have settled down with a same-sex spouse.

  34. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Thanks, Becca. That point is crucial to me. It’s the difference between demanding inclusion just because the bill is a good vehicle for moving UAFA (which I wouldn’t press strongly) versus demanding inclusion because, without UAFA, the bill really is an attack on those families. Without UAFA, the bill is NOT neutral as to bi-national gay couples. For the reasons you explain very well, it’s terrible for them. It’s a huge step backwards that pulls the rug out from under their precarious existence under current law. It’s the difference between opposing the de-gayed bill for spite (which I would not do) and opposing it as a matter of gay self-defense. It’s the reason I strongly supported the Dream Act–because it didn’t include the draconian enforcement that would harm bi-national gay couples.

  35. FunMe says:

    No! Are you serious? That is horrible!
    Have you or anyone tried to contact GetEqual and let them know what a bad strategy that is?
    (PS: I just wrote something about GetEqual before reading this.)

  36. FunMe says:

    When you’re on your own, we have to fight even harder.

    Remember, while HRC was sucking up to the President and doing very little to advance GLBT equality, groups like “GetEqual” and others were protesting and continuing the pressure on the pressure and government to get rid of DADT. It worked!

    That’s what we have to do we immigration reform. If we have to fight on our own, then that’s what we should do.

  37. FunMe says:

    Honey, they shrunk the gays!

    How did we go from 10% to 3%????!!!

  38. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Right. Part of it is a desire to co-opt the movement and use it for issues that are NOT gay issues based on the same nonsense about the de-gayed immigration bill being a gay-rights bill: 3% of the beneficiaries will coincidentally happen to be gay.
    Another part of it, I think, is–or at least was–a reluctance by some gays of color to stand up to their various homophobic religious institutions. However conscious, the objective was to push the movement away from marriage equality and onto something like poverty, so some gays of color could continue to avoid challenging those homophobic religious leaders and preserve the dysfunctional closeting.

  39. Skeptical Cicada says:


  40. Skeptical Cicada says:

    We will see. What didn’t change was the board of directors.

  41. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Got it. ;-)

  42. BeccaM says:

    That may have been one of the stated reasons, but it wasn’t the truth of it. The real reason was because Obama and the Democratic party couldn’t be bothered to put their weight behind opposing PropH8, and in fact kept trying to have it both ways by saying they were actually against marriage equality and preferred separate-but-unequal civil unions.

    I’ll even wager that significant numbers of voters who pulled the lever on PropH8 actually believed that gay and lesbian couples already had “as good as marriage” rights through CA’s domestic partnership law and the argument was merely over whether we’d get the word ‘marriage’.

    We in the LGBT community, while perhaps a little better funded than some minorities, nevertheless remain very, very poor as compared to the bigger groups in opposition to us — and in our case, we were overwhelmed in California by the millions of dollars from the Catholic and Mormon churches and their non-stop “gays are evil and hurt children” TV, print, and billboard ads.

  43. karmanot says:

    OMG. You are on to me. I’ve been eating Peeps for years hoping for immortality, but, alas, just the opposite is happening.

  44. karmanot says:

    You deserve the kudos and I’m happy to give them.We need leaders!

  45. BeccaM says:

    And Social Security and Medicare! Don’t forget, gay people are allowed to collect those, so that means those were Big Gay Bills, too.

  46. dula says:

    A similar reason was given for the passing of Prop 8 in CA…Gays didn’t canvas minority communities enough in order to convince them that we are deserving of equal rights. We ignored them so they voted down our rights.

  47. Papa Bear says:

    Just don’t let him do what dogs naturally do — no wait,I’m thinking of a Tesla Coil.

    Never mind…

  48. FLL says:

    I know very little about HRC president, Chad Griffin, at this point. Do you think he’s either lying or will cave without a fight? The full quote from Griffin is at this link. Here is an excerpt:

    “The idea that lesbian and gay couples are the barrier to a bipartisan immigration reform agreement is an offensive ruse designed to distract attention away from the failings of Congress…a broad coalition of religious groups, labor organizations, businesses and civil rights groups support the inclusion of same-sex bi-national couples in a comprehensive reform bill…The LGBT community will not stand for Congress placing the blame of their own dysfunction on our shoulders.”

  49. Well, in all fairness, the Emancipation Proclamation was the biggest gay rights bill ever, when the 3% were freed. Well, other than the Declaration of Independence, when the 3% finally took on King George.

  50. Yes. My concern was confusing people who might think, “but they havent’ voted on the amendment yet!” I think you’re correct, that folks decided long ago, all around, to throw us out. I wouldn’t be surprised they got permission to do it.

  51. BeccaM says:

    I honestly cannot remember a case recently where marriage rights were denied on the basis of a first-cousin marriage. Even if the laws are on the books, the don’t appear to be being enforced with respect to denying recognition of out-of-state marriages of this type.

    As for age-of-consent — nearly same thing, and all those couples have to do is wait a few years.

    Not since the days of the anti-miscegenation laws have we had a situation where marriages began and ended in a very real and legally binding sense at state borders. And it’s actually worse for gay and lesbian couples because at least back then, a legally enacted bi-racial marriage was accepted as legitimate and legal by the Feds.

  52. BeccaM says:

    Nor are polygamous marriages recognized.

  53. BeccaM says:

    I’m glad you keep bringing up this especially pernicious angle, that with the new enforcement regime, all the gay and lesbian married bi-national couples who are currently ‘flying under the radar’ in terms of overstaying visas or just hoping they don’t get noticed will be vastly more likely to have their non-citizen spouse be caught, deported, and barred forever from re-entering the country.

    Which as far as I’m concerned is nothing less than demanding otherwise law-abiding U.S. citizens make a choice: Divorce or exile.

  54. Skeptical Cicada says:

    LOL! Exactly. The biggest darn gay-rights bill since the Bush tax cuts!

  55. FLL says:

    People of every race come to the United States from all over the world, and the Americans that some of them marry are of all different races. It’s nasty, vicious and inaccurate of you to reduce any marriage between a U.S. citizen and a non-citizen to your petty and imaginary formula of people who “have a white person to sponsor them.” Do us all a favor and please crawl back under your rock.

  56. Thom Watson says:

    Yes, the general rule — in the past, so we don’t know that we can count on it continuing in a post-DOMA world on in a different administration — has been that DHS/INS/BIA consider the state of the celebration of marriage to be determinative for immigration purposes, not the state where the couple later lives. Other federal policies, e.g., taxation, would seem to be the opposite. But it’s all conjecture; there are legal experts who still come down on either side of where DOMA would leave such couples.

  57. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I just think the fix already is in and that the objective of activism is to undo it–perhaps just a quibble with your future tense. I imagine there is already a CAP/HRC-approved plan to kill the amendment in either the Senate committee or in a conference committee. Indeed, I imagine the orchestrated wave of Senate endorsements of marriage equality were part of it: “Here are some pretty words to distract you as we stab you in the back again in the next several weeks.”

  58. Thom Watson says:

    Excuse me? You’ll telling me to STFU, essentially? Ironically, at the heart I don’t think you and I are even in disagreement, but regardless I don’t appreciate being told to keep quiet in what is not a site or a conversation you own or have the right to try to silence me. I’m not saying what /would/ be the case post-DOMA, I’ve said what /has been/ the general rule to this point — and what many legal experts I’ve consulted with, in my work with Marriage Equality USA, have told me as well.

  59. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Please stop repeating this. We do not know whether that old case law from other contexts will even survive the DOMA decision. It is flatly inconsistent with the states’ rights argument that Kennedy seems to favor, because it amounts to the federal government impose another states’ definition of marriage on the state of residence. From the out-of-state divorce cases, there is a long line of Supreme Court precedent recognizing that the state of residence has the final authority in determining the marital status of its own people.

  60. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I disagree with your charitable assessment of the Democratic position. They have waited 24 weeks since the election to turn to immigration. They could easily wait the 6 more weeks it will take to know what the DOMA ruling is.

    They don’t want to wait for that ruling because if that ruling is against gay couples, the Democrats do not want to be pressured even more to protect bi-national gay couples. They will lose one of their top arguments for tossing bi-national gay couples overboard, which is that the Court will just take care of this. They want to leave out bi-national gay couples before the Court rules in any way that doesn’t fully handle the problem.

  61. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I’m infuriated by your plight and the casual disregard of it by heterosexual Democratic strategists. Apparently, the Democratic Party wants loyal and law-abiding gay Americans in your position to self-deport or self-divorce.

  62. Skeptical Cicada says:

    They already have. Those mini-DOMAs and state marriage amendments explicitly override comity and mandate a denial of recognition.

  63. FLL says:

    I’m glad you mentioned the “B” word. The Republicans are bluffing. They need immigration reform too much. At some point during 2013, the Republicans will give in. Until they do, an unfair bill is a non-starter, and everyone needs to know that.

  64. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Minor differences in ages of consent have never been regarded as reflecting strong public policies that justify ignoring a marriage. On the other hand, extreme age differences, as in exotic foreign laws, would lead to a denial of recognition–say a marriage of a 9-year-old under the law of a foreign country. No state is going to recognize such a marriage.

  65. Not to mention, if they’re going to per se filibuster “any bill that includes gays,” and immigration reform is the biggest gay bill ever, then they’re going to filibuster it anyway, right? ;-)

  66. I’m, not understanding your tense point – explain.

  67. Skeptical Cicada says:

    No one knows whether that celebration rule would be intact post DOMA. It is flatly inconsistent with the states’ rights argument that Justice Kennedy seems to find persuasive, as it would amount to the federal government choosing to allow gay marriage states with no connection to a couple to override the marriage definition of the states where they live. The very essence of the states’ rights argument is that each state should be allowed to decide the question of gay marriage and that the federal government should honor that state’s choice.

  68. BeccaM says:

    But of course!

  69. BeccaM says:

    No, but I actually built one as part of a ‘Physics Olympics’ team in high school. The Marshmallow Peeps remained unscathed, despite repeated treatments from a fully charged Tesla Coil and directed high-intensity microwaves.

    The other day when people were going on in the comments about tin-foil hats and copper-plated hats to help keep the CIA mind-control rays at bay, I quipped that I’d gone way beyond tin foil and was operating my computer using a long non-conductive stick from safe inside my Faraday cage.

  70. Skeptical Cicada says:

    No, you stay out of the debate until you get over your panting desire to throw bi-national gay couples into an untenable new draconian enforcement regime and destroy their marriages. You’re only helping who you want to help, so get off your high horse.

  71. Skeptical Cicada says:

    No, it’s your self-serving rationalization to justify your self-centered desire to make loyal and law-abiding gay Americans take a bullet.

  72. Skeptical Cicada says:

    How generous of you to order loyal and law-abiding gay Americans to get in the back of the line and wait 15 years for undocumented immigrants to maybe, eventually get to vote.


  73. BeccaM says:

    Wow. Thanks for the backgrounder.

    I guess this harkens back to your Outrage Inc post the other day, where it does sometimes seem like the only way you yourself will catch a break among these perpetually outraged types is if you were a disabled mixed-race lesbian.

    I arrived late at the LGBT civil rights party, but I cannot imagine feeling that gay white men were somehow my enemies, not when we’ve all been in the same boat all along.

  74. Skeptical Cicada says:

    The much better comparison is to the Violence Against Women Act, which passed with its gay provisions fully intact, did it not? And Republicans are far more worried about Latinos than women.

  75. FLL says:

    As I said in my reply to Tea Time, the public will not side against gay people and their allies because they fight for a fair immigration bill rather than supporting an unfair one. They’ll take it out on the likes of Marco Rubio and his allies in the House during the midterms. Watch and see. Good for you for not supporting an unfair bill. I don’t think everything is carved in stone yet because a major initiative like immigration reform takes almost a year, but I’m glad you don’t intend to support an unfair finished product, and I hope everyone else joins you in that sentiment.

  76. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Please identify any part of your condescending comment that constituted “help” from a straight ally.

    All I see is yet more patronizing and insulting instruction to sit down, shut up, and climb under the bus for heterosexual Democrats. Had you bothered to read John’s post, you would have found your question already answered there. I don’t recall the Violence Against Women Act being killed in the Senate, or was it somehow not “any bill that include[d] ‘gays.'” You’re wallowing in political homophobia.

    Fuck you! If you want those 1 in 5 gay bundlers to keep pumping your party full of money, you’ll learn some goddamn respect for a change. Maybe you missed the part where heterosexual Democrats don’t dictate terms to faggots anymore. You wanna offset all that post-Citizens United corporate money without our queer dollars? Fucking try it, princess. We’re not your bullied ’90s gays anymore, and we don’t exist to service you.

    Tell me, dear straight “ally,” when bi-national gay couples get hit with the new draconian enforcement regime you’re falling all over yourself to enact, do our dear straight “allies” prefer that loyal and law-abiding gay Americans with foreign partners SELF-DEPORT or SELF-DIVORCE? What’s the edict on that one from straight “allies”?

  77. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Yes! My only disagreement is with John’s verb tense–bi-national gay couples have already been thrown under the bus.

    Far from helping to enact an attack on bi-national gay couples, I full intend to vigorously work to kill the entire bill.

  78. d3clark says:

    Becca, You hit THAT nail on the head in just over a sentence!

  79. LOL wasn’t looking for kudos, just meant that sometimes writing about these things, publicly, is al that’s needed to get a fire going.

  80. FLL says:

    You won’t have to wait until the undocumented become citizens. There are already enough Mexicans and other Hispanics that already are citizens to have tipped the scales in favor of equal rights for gay people. Why do you think social conservatives are so horrified at the prospect of increased Hispanic immigration? Because Hispanics in general, and Mexicans in particular, are more supportive of gay equality than the national average.

  81. karmanot says:

    Can we bring Bodhi dog?

  82. I didn’t say he was a problem. Just noting the interesting coincidence. Robin isn’t running it anymore, it’s Heather and Felipe.

  83. I don’t have patience. But this issue is important, and I’m not going to get side-tracked by the typical haters.

  84. FLL says:

    I’m glad you brought up popular opinion, which was in the context of background checks for firearms. The Republicans in the Senate went against the vast majority of public opinion. What makes you think that the electorate won’t take that out on Republicans in the midterms? Yes, I’m well aware that the party of a second-term president almost always loses seats in the midterms, but when the Republicans spit it everyone’s face, you can be sure that it will be a net minus for them in the 2014 elections. Instead of winning lots of seats, they’ll win far fewer seats. Or (to think the unthinkable) instead of winning seats, the Republicans will actually lose seats. The party of a second-term president has only won seats once since the Civil War: in 1998, when the Republicans were in the process of impeaching Bill Clinton for having consensual sex with Monica Lewinsky. (By the way, if that unique exception doesn’t give us all a big hint about the political stupidity of sticking your nose in other people’s sex lives, I don’t know what does.)

    Now let’s extrapolate this reasoning to the inclusion of same-sex binational couples in immigration reform. We have two possibilities:

    (1) Fight like hell to include same-sex binational couples in immigration reform, and watch the Republicans block an immigration-reform bill completely this year, postponing it until 2014 or 2015. Do you think the public will blame those horrible queers? Guess again, Sparky. They’ll blame the Republicans and you know it.

    (2) Fight like hell to include same-sex binational couples in immigration reform, and watch Congress pass immigration reform without any provision for same-sex binational couples. That brings us to the inevitable marches, protests, sit-ins, and people chaining themselves to the White House fence that will dominate the headlines. I ask you once again, Sparky, will the public disapprove of those horrible queers (including the immigrant ones and the brown-skinned ones) standing up for themselves? You’re only fooling yourself. The Republicans will still look like shit on a soda cracker.

    You might not like the idea, but in either case, the public will not side against gay people and their allies for doing everything they can to ensure that immigration reform is fair. You might not like the idea, but you’ll have to get used to the idea. Most Americans will respect gay people and their allies if they fight for justice and don’t cave in. As far as American culture is concerned, I think that ship has sailed.

  85. Various sources. As I’ve quoted other bloggers saying before, there is a line of thinking among some in the black community that “gay” is a white thing. Apart fro that, you also have a new current among some trans people and some young gay people, and certainly gender study types (and closet Marxists) that white gay men are evil and simply must be destroyed, and thus all the institutions they built, the modern gay rights movement, must be destroyed and rebuilt from scratch since it’s purpose it to help white men and white men only. I exaggerate, but only slightly. Remember last year when i responded to those new “studies” claiming that gay rights should focus on poverty issues rather than marriage? Similar underlying theory – marriage is for white men. DADT is for white men. ENDA is for real people and it was ignored because white men don’t like white men, they claim (no, it was ignored because there weren’t exactly a steady stream of horror stories like we had with DADT, and there weren’t a steady stream of heart-tugging stories like we had with marriage.

  86. I didn’t know that about you. Good for you.

  87. As you’ll recall, background checks was not legislation vital to Republicans securing the growing latino vote, a voting bloc they feel is imperative if they are ever to win the White House any time this next century. So I’d argue that your comparison to background checks is false. The NRA has far more power than the religious right nowadays. And gay rights is far more popular generally than gun control. But regardless, the GOP isn’t desperate to win over gun control advocates. They ARE desperate to win latinos. So I would challenge any assumption that Marco Rubio’s bluff – when Rubio himself is desperate for Democratic latino voters to support his presidential run in 2016 – is anything more than just a bluff

    As for your first paragraph, I honestly don’t understand it.

  88. karmanot says:

    Same, straight marriage 5 yrs. Gay marriage 20 yrs.

  89. karmanot says:

    You are indeed!

  90. thanks, also email me if you guys see this stuff, I don’t check every thread.

  91. karmanot says:

    By god, do you have patience. I’m biting my tongue getting in synch with the new ‘civility.’lol

  92. karmanot says:

    Eloquent and beautiful letter, but wasted on a blue dog troll like DiFi. I’ve know her since the Sup days and can tell you she just doesn’t give a damn about the GLTBQ community. In fact, like Obama, she thinks of us as a pain in the ass except to the degree we can buy into the Demo lies and hand over votes.

  93. karmanot says:

    It comes from the same ignorant mentality that ‘white males’ have been discriminated against by diverse minorities and women.

  94. karmanot says:

    Thinking is a major task for the likes of bigot Maribel. Maybe a comic version would be easier.

  95. karmanot says:

    An example, many of us have fought for Civil Rights from the get go. Those of us who are GLTBQ stood by and watched the black Church overwhelming vote against our civil rights in Prop 8. That insult and disappointment doesn’t change what we we believe to be true—–equal standing under the law and civil rights for all Americans.

  96. karmanot says:

    Well sister, let me tell you. I was down in Mississippi in the early 60’s fighting for full civil rights for all of us. I’m white and gay and say to you: “FU!.” What racist BS. Shame on you.

  97. Mike Rasor says:

    Actually states can refuse to acknowledge marriages which violate age of consent laws. Several states will refuse to acknowledge a marriage where a minor unable to marry in their home state, leaves the state to marry and then returns. Further, in most states parents can have a marriage voided if their child marries in another state and would have had to have parental consent if they married in their home state.
    A violation of public policy is essentially any marriage not authorized by state law. Before Loving v. Virginia states with anti-misegination laws would refuse to acknowlege interracial marriages. It wasn’t until all anti-misegination laws were declared unconstituional that those states were forced to acknowledge out of state interracial marriages.

  98. karmanot says:


  99. karmanot says:


  100. xodimifejuj says:

    my roomate’s half-sister makes $76/hour on the laptop. She has been without work for 10 months but last month her income was $15292 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on  Zap22.c­om

  101. The Democrats are cowards, plain and simple. And Obama will compromise anything good out of the immigration bill anyway.

  102. BeccaM says:

    They seem to be pissed because we won’t say thank you and pay for the gas to fuel the bus we just got thrown under. Again.

  103. TeaTime says:

    John you have to stop this “I am out on this branch alone.” As Dan Savage stated, you (LGBT) need the help of straight allies to get things done [“Thank A Straight Ally” project]. Because the vast majority of voters and legislators are not gay, you will continue to need their help in making substantive changes. Moreover, it is a SLAP in their face and rather insulting to hear this constant drumbeat that “no one is going to fight for us”.

    Addressing the immigration issues, let’s bottom line this if possible. You will need 60-votes (Cloture) to get anything out of the Senate because Mr. Crazy (Gov’t trying to buy up all the bullets who doesn’t care about any party, including his own) INHOFE and others will filibuster this and any bill that include “gays”.

    Further, if they (republicans) will vote against “background checks” that is overwhelming favored by the public, even NRA members, while willing to take a temporary hit, what makes you think they would not kill this bill if gays are included. And I haven’t even gotten to the gerrymandered House.

    So again, how do you get to magic 60?

  104. BeccaM says:

    I know what you’re talking about, but honestly John, I have no friggin’ clue where that meme came from or why it’s become accepted as established fact in many circles, when there is zero evidence that it’s actually true.

  105. Well, I”m doing my part – writing about it and putting public pressure on our leaders, in the groups, and congress. Now the groups need to step up.

  106. BeccaM says:

    As I commented below, apparently we LGBTs — a tiny and long oppressed minority who’ve had to fight claw-and-nail for what few civil rights we’ve managed to win — have to fight for everybody else’s civil rights, particularly heterosexual people of color and straight immigrants, before we’re allowed to fight for ours.

    (Never mind the fact there is no evidence we’ve ‘ignored’ people of color and/or immigrants. We protested the HIV travel ban — even though most victims are hetero. We fought for access to medical care for HIV-positive people who are poor, who are disproportionately also people of color. We’re fighting for UAFA, which is an immigration issue at its core and would be colorblind in implementation. Heck, we fight for the rights of gay people who won’t even admit they’re gay.)

    I mean, I get it: People of color and immigrants have had to endure racism and bigotry for ages. It’s wrong and always will be. But so have we, and unlike people of color and immigrants, not that long ago we used to be thrown into prisons and mental institutions as a matter of course. Do they have to regularly watch political and religious leaders go on TV, today in 2013, and hear them denounce them as morally degenerate, sexual deviants, and damned to hell merely for existing? I’m not saying such bigotry doesn’t exist, but only with respect to LGBTs is it given complete legitimacy, as if it is merely a point of view. And worse, a view that because it is claimed to be religiously motivated, is often given greater value and weight over secular morality and justice.

    I guess Ms. Hernandez-Green feels we should be plotzing our collective drawers because the immigration reform measure being considered doesn’t specifically include discrimination against gay immigrants. Except of course for those 28,500 expatriated American citizens who will continue to be denied the right to live with their wives, husbands, and families here due to GOP bigotry and Dem homophobic cowardice. It must be that caring about the rights of law-abiding gay and lesbian American citizens who have to endure a form of discrimination unknown to heterosexuals is unwarranted selfishness.

  107. FLL says:

    Are the three directors Robin McGehee, Heather Cronk and Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez? Is Felipe the problem?

  108. It’s more than that. I suspect it’s part of that vein of thinking, that popped up more strongly in the past two years, that the gay communities priorities are only to help white people, and not people of color. As if military service or marriage or hate crimes, only apply to white people. I suspect some of these people would prefer we work on issue that have nothing to do with gay rights, but rather simply are minority issues, or poverty issues, or economic issues. Which are great issues, but they’re not necessarily gay rights issues, and if you create a civil rights group for one group of people you generally expect that group to work on that people’s civil rights. Some prefer we work on other issues and redefine them as “gay.” Thus my story.