Judy and Karin have a very personal reason to “give a damn.”
Last year, Judy took early retirement from her job in California so she could be with her partner Karin, who is British, year-round. Although Judy is an American citizen, she cannot sponsor Karin for residency in the United States. As a result, they are forced to live part of each year abroad, and are currently spending time in Europe, until Karin can return to the United States. After another 6-month stay stateside, they’ll be forced to begin traveling again.
Judy and Karin are one of two Immigration Equality families featured in the new Give A Damn Campaign from Cyndi Lauper and the True Colors Fund, where they note they are “both in our 60’s and tired of traveling because of, and being separated because of, who we are and who we love.”
“As a lesbian,” Judy writes, “I am DAMN tired of the discrimination we face and the unfulfilled promises of government and human rights groups, even though many changes have come about in the past 40 years. Because of the current laws in America I cannot sponsor my life partner for immigration and that means we cannot live together in our home in America as we want. She cannot visit the U.S. more than six months a year – and there is no guarantee when she comes to America that she will be allowed in! That’s DAMN unfair and stressful!”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Christopher, who wants to begin making permanent life plans with his partner of eight years.
“Our peers are buying houses and settling down and starting families,” Christopher writes. “My partner would like to open a restaurant.” But, he notes, “We can’t have any of that damn stability! That damn American dream–because we’ve been forced into being nomads in my own country.”
“It’s particularly upsetting as I’m very much an American,” he writes. “I can trace my history not only to my immigrant great-grandparents, but also to at least one American president and none other than the man who first codified the American language: Noah Webster. I grew up in the Great Middle West, my grandparents were farmers, I attended public schools, I’ve always voted. All these things that are supposedly harbingers of our American identity, and I can’t do the one thing that I want the most and that my ancestors were able to do: marry the one I love and welcome him as a citizen of the U.S. And frankly, that’s a damn outrage.”
If you’re also outraged at the discrimination these families face every day, click here to read their stories and share them with your friends. Then, sign up and “Give A Damn,” too. You’ll receive updates on actions you can take to support LGBT equality and help put an end to the unfair laws that keep families like Judy and Karin, and Christopher and his partner, too far from the American dream.