Ban on HIV+ Visitors and Immigrants in the U.S. is One Step Closer to Being Repealed
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Hello, Progress -- nice to see you again:
The U.S. Senate has approved repeal of a law barring HIV-positive visitors and immigrants from entering the country. The measure was included in legislation reauthorizing PEPFAR, the Presidentâ€™s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
The ban repeal measure was tacked onto the bill by Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) despite an effort by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to block it.
PEPFAR passed the Senate with the Kerry-Smith provision by a vote of 80 to 16 and now moves to conference committee before being sent to the President.
â€¦Gay and HIV/AIDS rights advocates have been fighting for repeal of the ban for more than a decade. The battle now focuses on keeping the language intact while PEPFAR moves through conference.
"We call on the leaders of the House and Senate to retain the Kerry-Smith provision in conference and ensure it is included in the final legislation sent to the Presidentâ€™s desk," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
Aside from its intrinsic and immediate value if the repeal is signed into law, it's also a good first step toward undoing the immigration policy that prevents HIV+ foreign nationals from obtaining legal permanent residency in the US -- which itself is necessarily tied to any reform of the fiancÃ©e/marriage visa laws to include same-sex couples.