Post submitted by Maureen McCarty, former HRC Deputy Director of Marketing

During testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning, former Rep. Jim Kolbe (Republican) argued on behalf of the rights of same-sex binational couples. 

In his 5-minute statement, Kolbe spoke of the struggle he and his fiancé Hector Alfonso, who is a Panama native, endured to acquire a visa. He and Alfonso were forced to separate for a year after they were unable to acquire a visa. Alfono was fortunately able to obtain a "green card" and the couple plans to marry this May in Washington, D.C. 

Kolbe also noted the economic impact of denying binational same-sex couples a path to citizenship.

"Six of America’s top 10 trading partners, as well as 65 percent of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development member countries, recognize lesbian and gay couples for immigration purposes,” said Kolbe in his testimony. “That puts those countries at a distinct competitive advantage over the United States.”

Kolbe, a longtime advocate for LGBT rights and 11-term Arizona Congressmember, was one of 20 individuals scheduled to testify. 

It's time for a comprehensive reform of our immigration system.  Follow HRC’s immigration blog series to hear some of the voices of those advocating for reform. 

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