Defending Marriage Equality and Defending Our Friends

Putney Friends Meeting has long sought divine wisdom around the often contentious issue of marriage equality for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Before the laws of the State of Vermont changed for the better, we agreed to take “illegal,” but spiritually-sound, gay and lesbian weddings and marriages under the care of our Meeting. After taking this first step toward greater faithfulness, we also began lobbying and speaking up for full marriage equality under Vermont state law. With that accomplished, we are now supporting the passage of the proposed federal Uniting American Families Act, which would stop the federal government from deporting foreign members of lesbian and gay binational marriages and relationships.

There is nothing abstract about our concern. Two beloved participants of our meeting are currently under threat from the US government. As Rachel Tiven wrote on the Immigration Equality’s blog, on December 13, “CNN broke the news that the Obama Administration has denied a green card for Frances Herbert’s spouse, Takako Ueda. In denying their request, the Administration has informed Takako that, “You are required to depart the United States within thirty (30) days from the date of this decision, or be subject to removal proceedings.” This would not happen if Frances and Takako were a heterosexual couple married under the laws of Vermont. It is now time to push for marriage equality at the federal level.

Our Meeting is thus asking for the help of all people of conscience who support equal rights and committed, loving relations. The first thing we ask is for people to urge the Obama Administration to stop the threats to deport Takako to Japan and fulfill her Green card request immediately. This would enable Frances and Takako to remain in the Vermont community they have made home in together for over ten years. So, please take a few minutes and call President Obama at (202) 456-1111. When the White House answers, tell them: “I am asking President Obama to keep Frances Herbert and her spouse, Takako Ueda, together. I’ve also learned that the Administration has denied their request for a green card. I support allowing lesbian and gay couples to stay together. Stop the separations, and stop denying green cards filed by lesbian and gay couples.”

Second, given that Frances and Takako are among thousands of binational lesbian and gay couples who are currently threatened with separation due to the discriminatory policies of the United States, we ask you to lobby for the passage of the Uniting American Families Act. One way to move this goal forward is to contact your US Senators and Representatives and ask them ask to support the Uniting American Families Act.

Please help us by also spreading the word by emailing this blog post to your friends, or using the share button below to post this request on Twitter or Facebook. Also, please have your workplaces, community groups, and religious congregations consider endorsing the Immigration Equality campaign. When you talk to people in the organizations you are a part of, you may also want to share with them this online FAQ sheet on the Uniting American Families Act.

Let’s make equality law in the New Year.