Gays and Lesbians in the Cold on Immigration Reform Bill
The "comprehensive" immigration reform bill introduced this month does not include gays and lesbians.
"The lawmaker said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who has led the House effort on comprehensive immigration reform, initially 'didn’t want to deal with it. At all.' Then he tried to work out a 'stupid' compromise whereby the same-sex partner provisions would be in the bill but they wouldn’t take effect for five or six years, said this Member. ..Gutierrez denied that he wanted to keep gay and lesbian language out of his bill. 'That’s just not true,' he said, pointing to his long-standing record of supporting the gay community. The real issue, he said, is that same-sex partner matters have not come up in past immigration reform debates and people are still figuring out how to bring the two camps together. 'There has never been a serious, in-depth discussion between the gay and lesbian community and the immigrant community. It’s never existed,' Gutierrez said. 'It’s a new conversation, but not one that I’m fearful of. I welcome it. But you can’t expect after nearly two decades of struggle for a new component' to be quickly embraced."
An amendment with a same-sex provision has been proposed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) who noted that a repeal of DOMA would alleviate the issue.
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) said she was 'very frustrated' because she 'wanted to see a bill that was comprehensive. But we deal with political reality here.' Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who earlier this year pronounced a DOMA repeal 'dead' this Congress, predicted it will be 'a very, very hard sell' to attach the same-sex provision to the immigration reform bill.
Gutierrez released a statement to the Windy City Times: "The process I am committed to being a part of in Congress will, I hope, address the unacceptable situation that lesbian and gay bi-national couples live under every day. … Everyone's goal should be a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes a commitment to all families and honors our history as a nation of immigrants. That is my goal, and it is inclusive of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, too."
The paper adds: "Gutierrez also noted his support for the Uniting American Families Act, which would let U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor their gay and lesbian partners for immigration to the United States. That measure received a local boost in support last week as the Chicago City Council passed a resolution, introduced by Aldermen Tom Tunney and Daniel Solis, urging its passage in the House of Representatives."