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Efforts to Include Gay Binational Couples in Immigration Reform Spurned by Senate Panel

Gay and lesbian binational couples have been thrown under the bus on immigration reform. Senator Patrick Leahy withdrew his amendment to the comprehensive bill, Buzzfeed reports:

LeahyA little past 7 p.m., Leahy said, “It is with a heavy heart … I will withhold the Leahy Amendment 7 at this point.” Leahy offered the amendment a half-hour earlier, saying, “I don’t want to be the senator who asks Americans to choose between the love of their life and the love of their country.”

He added, “Discriminating against people based on who they love is a travesty,” noting that he wanted to hear from the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators about why they didn’t include protections for gay couples in the bill.

Sen. Lindsey Graham went first, saying he opposed the inclusion of gay couples’ protections in the bill. “If you redefine marriage for immigration purposes [by the amendment], the bill would fall apart because the coalition would fall apart,” he said. “It would be a bridge too far.”

More at Buzzfeed including Leahy's statemtn.

Other senators followed suit, saying the amendment would destroy the bill's chances.

SchumerSaid Senator Schumer, who had been under intense pressure from LGBT advocates this week and even called a meeting of them in his office:

"This is one of the most excruciating decisions I have had to make in my [time] in Congress. … Not to do this is rank discrimination....They’ve made it perfectly clear that if this provision is included … they will abandon [the bill.] … If we make the effort to add it to this bill, they will walk away. … The result, no equality, no immigration bill, everyone loses. … Much as it pains me, I cannot support this amendment if it will bring down the bill.’"

Said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality Action Fund, in a statement in response to the abandonment:

"Despite the leadership of Chairman Leahy, Judiciary Committee Democrats have caved to bullying by their Republican colleagues. There should be shame on both sides of the political aisle today for lawmakers who worked to deny LGBT immigrant families a vote. Despite widespread support from business, labor, faith, Latino and Asian-American advocates, Senators abandoned LGBT families without a vote. From the beginning we told Senator Schumer that it would only get harder to add LGBT families to the bill. We are disappointed that Senator Schumer and his 'Gang of 8' colleagues accepted a false choice between LGBT families and immigration reform, when the truth is that including LGBT families from the outset would have strengthened the bill."

HRC's Chad Griffin released a statement as well:

"As we come together as a nation to tackle our broken immigration system, it is deplorable that a small number of Senators have been able to stand in the way of progress for lesbian and gay couples torn apart by discriminatory laws. Instead of working to achieve common-sense solutions, Senators Graham, Flake, McCain and Rubio threatened to derail the entire immigration bill to appease a small but vocal group of anti-gay social conservatives that will do anything to stop progress for lesbian and gay couples. We are extremely disappointed that our allies did not put their anti-LGBT colleagues on the spot and force a vote on the measure that remains popular with the American people. We will continue to work hard to include bi-national same-sex couples as the bill moves to the floor and remain committed to the underlying principles of inclusive and comprehensive immigration reform. We owe it to the estimated 267,000 undocumented LGBT adults and estimated 24,700 LGBT bi-national couples living in the U.S. today to get the job done."

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Comments

  1. Schumer has to be the most worthless pos in the senate. Always trying to claim the high ground while doing absolutely nothing. Transparently gutless, soulless and utterly lacking a moral compass. Is this the best New York can manage?

    Posted by: melvin | May 21, 2013 8:42:12 PM


  2. I'm as left-wing as it gets but this does make me think of how Margaret Thatcher once said: "When I retire from politics, I'm going to start a business called 'Rent-A-Spine'". Include Same-sex couples in this bill, let the republicans vote against it, and let America see what kind of despicable people these republican politicians are. It would be a gift to the democrats right about now.

    Posted by: Chris | May 21, 2013 8:45:25 PM


  3. ..I swear Id love to kick Lindsey Graham right in her Closet case VaJJ

    Posted by: disgusted merikkkan | May 21, 2013 8:49:17 PM


  4. Shame on you Schumer! So everyone wins except LBGT people? This is your idea of fairness? You are a spineless turncoat.

    Posted by: trees | May 21, 2013 8:49:56 PM


  5. Weasel words from Leahy and Schumer. Finally the GLBT community may wake up to the fraud known as the Democratic Party.

    Posted by: Adam | May 21, 2013 8:50:15 PM


  6. The GOP is responsible for this, not Schumer and the Democrats.

    The Democrats had to choose between doing nothing and making life better for millions of immigrants but excluding us gays.

    I hope they can get to equality soon, but I understand why they couldn't get it in this bill.

    Posted by: Jim | May 21, 2013 8:54:15 PM


  7. I really question the motive and racial bias of people who are so vested in including a DOMA loophole in this bill. Why is it so important to include something that will be made irrelevant by a Supreme Court decision in a month? A decision that will likely come before the bill even passes. Now why is it so important to these white middle upper class citizens that an immigration reform bill, which doesn't pertain to their sheltered, suburban lives at all, include a worthless provision that will derail the entire thing? Apparently, they'd rather see families continue to get ripped apart rather than have our leaders not kiss their rainbow-colored rings. No, you don't get this one. Deal with it. Or not. Leave the country and make room for people who'd actually appreciate it.

    Posted by: LetSodomRing | May 21, 2013 8:55:48 PM


  8. Schumer is a traitor of the spineless turd variety.

    Posted by: Adam | May 21, 2013 8:56:26 PM


  9. Tiresome as Miss Graham is, she is not incharge of the Senate. Look to Reid, Leahy, Schumer, Feinstein as the authors of this fustercluck. The leadership is unwilling to propose any bills but apple pie and motherhood. The Senate no longer functions at all. We do not have a functional government except the one on Wall Street.

    Posted by: melvin | May 21, 2013 8:59:03 PM


  10. Wake up and smell the roses boys. You're not as important as you think you are.

    Posted by: Ben | May 21, 2013 9:00:28 PM


  11. Fact is it was the proper choice sometimes sacrifices must be made for the greater good DOMA is most likely on its way out so immigration issues will be settled by that ruling. This effects millions of people a d can't be put on hold just to appease a few thousand the needs of the many out weight the needs of a few

    Posted by: Lee | May 21, 2013 9:01:39 PM


  12. Binational same-sex couples need to be treated the same as binational heterosexual couples in the immigration process. That's not up for dispute, and only Republicans are against it in both theory and practice. How that comes about is less important than making sure it happens.

    The amendments were one way, and kudos to Sen. Leahy for pushing for them. (Far from a fraud, Sen. Leahy has already done a great deal for binational same-sex couples--the same can't be said for any Republican Senator and for quite a few Democrats.) All the more reason why Section 3 of DOMA must fall in June.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 21, 2013 9:09:02 PM


  13. This will not stand Mr Spock, this nonsense of the theoretical needs of the many outweighing the real here, now, today needs of what you choose to call the few.

    Bad as towleroad comment threads are, the only thing that could make them worse is an infestation of theory.

    Posted by: melvin | May 21, 2013 9:09:54 PM


  14. What you would like to happen, and what will, are two different things. Even Schumer couldn't persuade. Welcome to America. Reality is not on a blog.

    Posted by: Ben | May 21, 2013 9:15:14 PM


  15. hey chuckie cheese find something to do the last sunday in june . please keep your smile home if you march expect the boos to be deafening. you displayed a total lack of courage

    Posted by: walter | May 21, 2013 9:28:36 PM


  16. Yeesh, cries from the self-appointed martyrs of gay suburbia continue. There are actual substantive concessions and compromises galore in this bill. If only the ridiculous fines, extravagant border security, a grotesquely long wait period and a cutoff date that expired two years ago contained within this bill's treacherous path to citizenship were all on their way out through a pending Supreme Court case. Immigrants and their advocates aren't complaining and calling their Democrats who supported this version of the bill traitors to the cause. And yet, some of you gay activists are threatening mutiny on the Good Ship Lollipop. Toughen up.

    Posted by: LetSodomRing | May 21, 2013 9:30:43 PM


  17. Schumer and Leahy are spineless twits. Who needs enemies when your so-called friends fail to stand up for you?

    Posted by: Adam | May 21, 2013 9:32:27 PM


  18. Schumer and Leahy are spineless twits. Who needs enemies when your so-called friends fail to stand up for you?

    Posted by: Adam | May 21, 2013 9:32:28 PM


  19. Two thoughts:

    1) The Democratic Party, as usual, is completely useless.

    2) Someone should out Lindsey Graham -- vividly. Confront him at every public event and ask him about his boyfriends. Publish the names and dates of his various same-sex trysts. And so on. His sexuality is an open secret in DC that has been "protected" for far too long.

    Let the Senator explain -- as an outed gay man -- why he's opposed to the bill.

    Posted by: Brian | May 21, 2013 9:53:37 PM


  20. "cries from the self-appointed martyrs of gay suburbia continue"

    Oh, shut up already.

    This bill puts the interests of illegal non-citizen law-breakers -- ahead of actual US citizens (suburban and otherwise).

    I'm all for immigration reform, but reform that puts the interests of non-Americans ahead of actual LGBT US citizens illustrates our third-class status vividly. Queer Americans have more rights in a foreign country like Canada or Britain than in our own country, even as blatant foreign scofflaws are getting concessions for themselves and their family members that we cannot get.

    As for the SCOTUS case, its outcome is far from certain, and the fact that it's the only hope of LGBT Americans underscores just how utterly useless our "allies" in the Democratic Party are. Without the legal victories in state and federal courts to date, we'd have NO progress at all.

    Contrast that with both major parties' efforts to provide a path to legal residence and citizenship to people who simply ignored the law.

    Posted by: Brian | May 21, 2013 9:57:13 PM


  21. You sound like a bunch of brats. What have you done about the issue? Your ass isn't winning many supporters.

    Posted by: Sam | May 21, 2013 10:11:28 PM


  22. Lol! Sodomites please understand that every serious demographic study suggest that you are around 4 percent of the population...and you tend to congregate in urban centers. Your votes barely measure nationally. Juxtapose this with an ever expanding Hispanic population and it becomes absolutely comic that you guys expected the Dems to commit political seppuku for your measely votes.

    I know you sodomites are legends in your owns minds with your fancy dinners and self-congratulating awards. But let me put it in blunt political terms. Had every soddy voted for Romney, Obama would have still won. On the other hand if every Hispanic had done the same...we would now have a President who wears magic underwear.

    Posted by: helen | May 21, 2013 10:11:34 PM


  23. Lol! Sodomites please understand that every serious demographic study suggest that you are around 4 percent of the population...and you tend to congregate in urban centers. Your votes barely measure nationally. Juxtapose this with an ever expanding Hispanic population and it becomes absolutely comic that you guys expected the Dems to commit political seppuku for your measely votes.

    I know you sodomites are legends in your owns minds with your fancy dinners and self-congratulating awards. But let me put it in blunt political terms. Had every soddy voted for Romney, Obama would have still won. On the other hand if every Hispanic had done the same...we would now have a President who wears magic underwear.

    Posted by: helen | May 21, 2013 10:11:35 PM


  24. Lol! Sodomites please understand that every serious demographic study suggest that you are around 4 percent of the population...and you tend to congregate in urban centers. Your votes barely measure nationally. Juxtapose this with an ever expanding Hispanic population and it becomes absolutely comic that you guys expected the Dems to commit political seppuku for your measely votes.

    I know you sodomites are legends in your owns minds with your fancy dinners and self-congratulating awards. But let me put it in blunt political terms. Had every soddy voted for Romney, Obama would have still won. On the other hand if every Hispanic had done the same...we would now have a President who wears magic underwear.

    Posted by: helen | May 21, 2013 10:11:37 PM


  25. Bi National Couples are treated equal to straight couples in the Netherlands......they are given benefits and residence......even though ONE OF THEM IS AMERICAN !!!!!

    What's wrong with you all ?
    Don't you get it ?
    A bi-national couple should get the same treatment here in USA as the foreign country gives to a same sex couple married in Mass.

    What is wrong with the USA ?
    Is it afraid that foreign countries treat married Americans better that the USA does ?

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 21, 2013 10:26:40 PM


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