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Shame on the Gang of Eight: History will remember that you left out the gays

To the Senate "Gang of Eight":

Sen. Chuch Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-N.C.)
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)

On April 17, 2013, you made history when you introduced an immigration reform bill that excluded me based on who I am. It wasn't an age limit or a border security trigger. It wasn't an issue. It was a specific group of people. You left me out because I am gay and my partner is gay. You abandoned us.

The next morning we took my partner's mother to the airport. He had not seen her in five years, or his father or siblings in 17 years. I had promised him that this year it would be over; that this year we are part of a nationwide coalition that supports our inclusion; that the New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform coalition we work with, and many other major immigration coalitions, support us; that the president supports us; and that we are part of the team.

And then you left us out. You decided to exclude the gays, the people who also worry everyday that their partner will be deported, the people who watch their partners cry because they can't visit a sick father, the people who believe in the justice we seek for all immigrants as a cause central to their being, because the suffering is identical and must end for us all.

You left us out, and now we stand outside. Alone. We stand and watch to see how your plan proceeds. Will you let us in the Senate bill in committee, or have you sealed our fate for good?

Will you realize that we are human beings in time to include us, or will you decide that we are too politically volatile to risk your broader goals? Will you convince yourself that maybe the Supreme Court will help them, or that you'll do something for the gays later?

Well, it hurts now. It feels dehumanizing, now. It feels like despair makes more sense than hope. And it feels unbearable to be an American in love with a Colombian, ashamed of my own country, but with nowhere to turn.

And so a discriminating minority (an invisible group of religious outliers) with political power is oppressing a smaller minority (32,000 binational same-gender couples) with less power, and these eight senators are representing discrimination.

How is it that in America discrimination has the strength of its convictions, while equality does not? And what kind of country are we admitting the 11 million immigrants to?

Please contact your U.S. Senator to say, "Don't leave the gays out of comprehensive immigration reform!" Use this email form, or call toll-free 866-563-5608.

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