GOP Sen. Susan Collins Backs UAFA To ‘Update’ U.S. Laws

SusanCollins"Update." That's the operative word in Republican Sen. Susan Collins' statement of support for the Uniting American Family Act, proposed legislation that would let gay or lesbian Americans sponsor an international partner for residency here in the States, with them.

Without it and without federal marriage recognition, these couples are more often than not torn apart, or the American elects to leave the U.S. of A.

"This legislation would simply update our nation’s immigration laws to treat bi-national couples equally,” Collins, a moderate Republican who fought against Don't Ask, Don't Tell, said when announcing her support for UAFA yesterday.

Collins continued,  "More than two dozen countries recognize same-sex couples for immigration purposes. This important civil rights legislation would help prevent committed, loving families from being forced to choose between leaving their family or leaving their country.” Rather than languishing in the past, as we are now, Collins — and others, too — would like to see the United States, once a bellwether for democratic progress, get with the times.

She is the first GOP lawmaker to sign onto the act, says Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade, but is only the 27th co-sponsor of the legislation. And for all her pro-equality history, Johnson notes that Collins' support here is shiny and new:

[Collins] co-sponsorship of UAFA is also noteworthy because in 2010 she was among the “no” votes on another immigration-related bill called the DREAM Act, which would have offered young, undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship if they pursue a college education or military service.

Advocates have sought to include UAFA as part of larger immigration reform legislation that was under discussion during the 111th Congress when Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. But that larger bill never advanced beyond the introduction of LGBT-inclusive legislation that was co-sponsored only by Democrats.

With the current right-leaning trends within the GOP, though, it may be a while before any of Collins' party peers hop aboard this particular political boat.

R. Clarke Cooper from the Log Cabin Republicans described the Maine Senator as the "tip of the spear" among GOP leaders. Hopefully that tip won't be worn down to a nub by high conservative pressure.


  1. Hex says

    As an American who has been forced to leave the U.S. of A. to stay with my foreign partner of 10 years, I would like to thank Sen. Collins for her brave decision to support fairness.

  2. Continuum says

    Empty gesture on her part. You forgot to mention the part where she has decided not to run for office again.

  3. says

    Yes, too little too late.

    When will the USA pay proper respect to marriages conducted outside its jurisdiction as it is required to do under Private International Law ?

    When parties have capacity,observe jurisdictional formalities, consent and registration in foreign countries what business is it of the USA to deny them the rights the USA would expect to be afforded to its citizens in similar circumstances ?
    And indeed is afforded to citizens of USA who have married in foreign countries in similar circumstances ?

    For instance if two guys married in Mass. and had domicile,formalities, capacity and consent etc. would not Mass. law expect those marriages to be recognised in London/overseas for the purposes of inheritance, spousal support, pension benefits, residence, hospital visitation etc ?
    The failure of the USA to honour and pay proper respect to valid foreign gay marriages is unconstitutional, IMO.

    But the USA attitude does smack of the same delusional, self regarding concept of “American Exceptionalism “, fodder for the masses, so they believe that they too could be the ones paying 50,000 dollars a plate.

  4. ratbastard says

    I wish all of the U.S. were as sane, non-religious and relatively tolerant as New England where I live. But it’s not. A lot of this really does come down to some regions and states of the country where especially evangelicals hold powerful influence in politics and among the people. Aside from some kind of federal mandate/action, there will always be a divide in the country on issues like gay rights, gay marriage, etc.

  5. mikeflower says

    They always either “come out” or change their opinion *after* they leave office or their appointed position.

  6. Mitchell says

    You people need to update your facts. The Maine senator retiring is Olympia Snowe, not Susan Collins. Collins will probably run for reelection in 2014 as far as i know

  7. jakke says

    She’s not going anywhere, its Maine’s other Senator that is retiring. Nice try at a slam guys though, you can apologize now.

  8. Southernmost says

    I am deeply grateful to Sen. Collins for her help and support. As an American living in Canada with my Canadian partner, I am hopeful that we can some day soon come home.

  9. "The Gay" says

    Senator Collins is not retiring, Olympia Snowe, who’s been in politics in Maine since the 70’s, is.

    Maine is very close to passing same sex marriage via popular vote; this is the second attempt there, and if it passes, Maine will be the first US state to do so in the nation.

    So a little less ineffectual bitching, and misinformation, and a little more support for the efforts there, mmmmmmm kaye, thanks.

    PS; if you’re in another country, and opining on US politics, you should make an effort to know WTF you’re talking about. That, as opposed to making yourself look like the drooling ‘tard we already know you are.

  10. MichaelJ says

    I doubt Collins in the tip of the spear among GOP leaders, as the Log Cabin Republican asserts. She knows that following the party line on this issue is not going to help her get re-elected. Almost all if not all other Republicans need to appeal to their anti-gay base to stay in office.

  11. Andrew says

    Susan Collins could be such a powerful voice for bi-partisanship if she only had a little more spunk and challanged the ultra conservative leadership in her party a LITTLE more often. Obama really tried hard, offering many compromises in order to get her support. Unfortunately she usually marched in lock step with the ULTRAS in her party.