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Ahead of National March, Activists Speak Out for Binational Families

As tens of thousands of advocates, activists and allies begin arriving in Washington for this weekend’s National Equality March, there are an increasing number of calls for elected leaders to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender binational families.

Earlier this week, LGBT-inclusive immigration reform finished first in an online poll soliciting opinions about top priorities for the LGBT community. An overwhelming majority of those who responded to the poll at Pam’s House Blend believed such reform should be the first consideration of elected leaders, including President Obama.

Then, noted lawyer and advocate Emma Ruby-Sachs also weighed in at The HuffingtonPost – as part of a week-long series leading up to Sunday’s March – and encouraged President Obama to address binational families as part of his agenda, too. Writing at HuffPo, Ruby-Sachs said that she wanted to hear a strong speech from President Obama that included this commitment:

“Within one year, by November 2010, we will introduce comprehensive immigration reform. This immigration package will include spousal sponsorship for same-sex couples in a committed relationship. Immigration reform is a priority for my administration and no reform package will be complete without this provision for the unification of American families thus far separated by discriminatory immigration policies.”

We couldn’t agree more. And we were also heartened to read Thursday’s Metro Weekly interview with Shelly Bailes of Davis, California, who told the paper that she will not only March but also meet with her Member of Congress – Mike Thompson – and “speak with him about why he hasn’t come onboard with marriage equality and immigration equality.”

“He’s usually onboard,” Bailes said, “so I wanted to speak to him and find out why.”

And, with more than 300 people expected to be part of Immigration Equality’s March contingent this Sunday, there’s no doubt that everyone on Capitol Hill will see and hear our message loud and clear: LGBT-inclusive immigration reform is a priority that, for countless families, simply cannot wait.