After 9 years of being ignored, the Uniting American Families Act, which hopes to solve this problem, is finally getting some time in the Senate:
"The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill for the first time Wednesday, after 10 previous attempts to have hearings on the Uniting American Families Act. The bill has 102 co-sponsors in the House and 17 co-sponsors in the Senate, including Judiciary Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.Oh, you would say that, President of the Family Research Council, wouldn't you? Because the number one goal of any organization with "Family" in the name is to ruin gay families. Blah. Anyway.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council which opposes same sex marriage, has condemned the bill as "yet another attack on marriage at the expense of U.S. taxpayers." "
While I've always been a strong supporter of gay rights, this issue is especially important to me. My close British friend/coworker is stuck in this exact situation with his long term American partner. He's been here a year and a half on a research visa, and after another year he's going to be shipped back to England. He can't go visit his family because he won't be allowed back in the country, even if one of his parents became deathly ill. It's horrible that this sort of inequality exists that would tear apart relationships (not to mention how idiotic it is to shoo away intelligent people with PhDs who want to be here...but that's another issue).
You can help out by sending a letter to your representative urging them to support this bill - and if you want, there's a nifty little form letter here. It only takes a second, and every little bit helps.