Senate Repeals HIV Travel Ban

Hello, Progress—nice to see you again:
The US 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 President’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.

…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 President’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 fiancée/marriage visa laws to include same-sex couples.

[H/T to Oddjob. Faith has info on the company we're keeping as long as this idiotic ban remains in place.]

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