Godoy Olivieri, Ltd.-An immigration law firm
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312-445-0591 800-264-2752

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Senate to consider same-sex immigration rights

Throughout his recent speeches, most noticeably last month's inauguration and last week's State of the Union, President Obama has made both immigration reform and the furthering of gay rights clear legislative priorities for the upcoming months as his second term gets underway.

Local political developments have served as something of a microcosm for these policy thrusts as the Illinois legislature currently debates the recognition of same-sex marriage in our home state. While the expansion of the right to a legally valid marriage to gay and lesbian couples would be a clear victory for supporters of gay rights, progress in this debate may become closely tied to immigration law-that is, if a recently proposed bill in the U.S. Senate proves successful.

Last week Senator Patrick Leahy voiced his plans to introduce the Uniting Families Act. The piece of would-be legislation would, if passed, extend spousal immigration benefits to same sex couples. Currently the federal government's refusal to recognize same-sex unions makes it impossible for gay and lesbian couples to enjoy the same immigration rights, including the provision of green cards, as their heterosexual counterparts.

Leahy's proposed act would change that disparity, establishing equity for both straight and homosexual couples who wish to move forward on the path to American citizenship. The matter was discussed during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration last week, and may benefit from a Supreme Court ruling on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which is expected later this summer.

As both the Illinois state legislature and federal government continue to address the expansion of gay rights, immigration reform and a modernization of immigrants' rights may very well go hand-in-hand. The legal hurdles for those attempting to assert their rights can be formidable and myriad; an immigration law attorney can offer both counsel and strong advocacy to those who have been illegally wronged.

Source: New Jersey Herald, "Leahy wants immigration benefits for gay couples," Alicia A. Caldwell, Feb. 13, 2013

Our firm can help in asserting a person's immigration rights in a number of situations. Find out more by visiting our Chicago immigration page.

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Godoy Olivieri, Ltd.-An immigration law firm

2021 Midwest Road
Suite 200
Oak Brook, IL 60523
312-445-0591 local
800-264-2752 toll free
630-705-5258 fax
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1655 S. Blue Island Ave.
Suite 300
Chicago, IL. 60608
312-445-0591 local
800-264-2752 toll free
630-705-5258 fax
Map & Directions