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Immigration Bill, GOP on Collision Course with Gay Rights, LGBT Families

The issue of immigration legislation that would affect up to 40,000 same-sex couples across the country is about to become a huge issue surrounding the comprehensive immigration reform bill under consideration in Congress as the battle of whether or not to include it comes to a head.

President Obama's immigration reform proposal, unveiled in January, had included LGBT families but those inclusions were not there when the bill was introduced by the 'Gang of Eight' last month.

FlakeThe NYT reports:

Now, with the immigration bill scheduled to advance next week toward a vote in the Judiciary Committee, Democrats are in a quandary about whether to offer an amendment that would give green cards to same-sex partners.

Republican sponsors of the overhaul warned on Tuesday that such an amendment would sink the entire measure.

“There’s a reason this language wasn’t included in the Gang of Eight’s bill: It’s a deal-breaker for most Republicans,” Senator Flake said. “Finding consensus on immigration legislation is tough enough without opening the bill up to social issues.”

LeahySenator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont is considering a separate measure:

Senator Leahy’s bill does not seek to legalize gay marriage. Instead, it would allow an American citizen to petition for a green card for a “permanent partner.” Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican, is a co-sponsor of that bill. “Our legislation would simply update our nation’s immigration laws to treat binational, same-sex permanent partners fairly,” she said on Tuesday.

She and Senate Democrats are looking to Mr. Leahy to decide whether to attach that measure as an amendment to the larger bill. He has not yet tipped his hand.

But in an interview Tuesday with the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Senator Rubio was blunt in his assessment of the impact of any same-sex amendment. “This immigration bill is difficult enough as it is,” he said. “If that issue is injected into this bill, this bill will fail. It will not have the support. It will not have my support.”

RubioPolitico reports that Leahy and HRC are telling advocates he will offer up the measure:

But by doing so, Republicans warn that Democrats will tank the whole bill.

“It will virtually guarantee that it won’t pass,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Gang of Eight negotiating group, told POLITICO in a brief interview. “This issue is a difficult enough issue as it is. I respect everyone’s views on it. But ultimately, if that issue is injected into this bill, the bill will fail and the coalition that helped put it together will fall apart.”

As the legislation moves through the Judiciary Committee and on to the Senate floor, many people will make pronouncements about things that must be kept in or kept out of the bill — but few issues worry the Gang of Eight as much as same-sex partner rights.

Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner adds:

If the provision ends up being added into the bill, Republicans could be given an attempt to remove the provision on the floor, but it almost definitely would fail. At that point, the question would be whether Senate Republicans otherwise inclined to vote for the bill would be willing to give up those political gains in order to eliminate the potential for a gay-rights gain in the immigration reform bill.

Even if included in the Senate bill, the measure likely would not find its way into any House version of immigration reform, which would either lead to a conference committee or a situation similar to that faced by the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, when House Republicans balked at a more inclusive Senate version in the last session of Congress but relented and passed the Senate version earlier this year.

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Comments

  1. I am so tired of being reduced to a "social issue". My thought is that if the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA, then the immigration issue goes along with it. If an international couple is legally married in the US by their state and DOMA doesn't exist, then the Federal government wouldn't have any grounds for treating them differently than an opposite sex couple. We can hope...

    Posted by: Chadd | May 1, 2013 8:18:19 AM


  2. I agree,Chadd.

    =======================

    As for the immigration bill, it's beyond outrageous. The Democrats want more and more 'poor' so-called 'low information voters' hooked on The System, the Republicans want more and more consumers, cheap labor, and debtors for The System. Neither care they are destroying the country. Then of course the hardcore Marxist and their cousins on the opposite end just want a complete collapse, so they can better their chances at seizing power out of chaos.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 1, 2013 8:37:20 AM


  3. So we are second class citizens...to law breaking, identity thieving non-citizens?

    Posted by: me | May 1, 2013 8:39:09 AM


  4. I'm not an American, so treat my opinion as that of a disinterested observer: Senator Rubio is a political weasel.

    Posted by: James in Toronto | May 1, 2013 8:42:12 AM


  5. I agree wholeheartedly! These "social issues" are OUR LIVES. They are "real issues" that are immediately affecting us with this very piece of legislation.

    And our lives, liberties, and pursuits of happiness RELY on the inclusion of our relationships in this debated law!

    Yes, once DOMA is finally out the door, we will most likely be included by default. But that doesn't mean that we should just take being treated like we're invisible, does it?!

    Those who are affected, and those who want to be allies, please speak up, please speak out! Please tell your lawmakers!

    Posted by: El | May 1, 2013 8:45:06 AM


  6. So Republicans are willing to throw away potentially hundreds of thousands or even millions of hispanic voters, just so they can continue to say how much they hate gay people?

    Posted by: K in VA | May 1, 2013 8:45:48 AM


  7. Fine. Let the crazy GOPer US Senators tank the entire immigration bill over including us - the "social issues" - as part of the bill's protection. Then let these Rethuggists explain their hateful actions to the millions of immigrants affected by their refusal to approve this bill. The further marginalization of the do-nothing GOPers (unless it directly benefits them and their rich cronies) only hastenes their ultimate demise. I'm tired of this "pretend" political party.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | May 1, 2013 8:54:14 AM


  8. Craven sh*t-weasels!

    Posted by: Caliban | May 1, 2013 8:54:21 AM


  9. Where do the conservatards dig up these fossils: Flake, Rubio, etc.? Time to retire them to the Museum of Unnatural History and get some living, breathing humans with a full range of intellectual and emotional awareness.

    Posted by: Onnyjay | May 1, 2013 8:58:23 AM


  10. If history is any guide, they won't blame the republicans, they will blame the gays for sinking the bill. Even without this measure, reform will help many gay couples if it grants residency to those already in the US.

    Posted by: Tyler | May 1, 2013 9:05:02 AM


  11. I am not a "social Issue," I am an American citizen, unlike those others this bill is trying to accommodate. I'm 100% behind immigration reform, but after 25 years of dealing with this issue, I see ZERO reasons American citizens should not only be not given a seat in the back, but kicked off the bus completely in favor of non American immigrants.

    This country has bent over backwards Rubio for you and your family, even perpetuating one of the most idiotic foreign policies this country has ever seen. Time to pay it forward.

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | May 1, 2013 9:10:29 AM


  12. Tyler is correct: if LGBT inclusion "sinks" this bill, the Latino community with not blame Republicans. They will blame the gay community for causing the failure of "their" bill.

    We live in a ridiculous country, absurdity that the Republican party is a master at manipulating.

    Posted by: Mike8787 | May 1, 2013 9:23:20 AM


  13. If Section 8 of DOMA goes down this whole issue goes away. It certainly isn't going to go away through the legislative process with a Republican dominated House. Let's pray that the SCOTUS makes this whole topic obsolete in June.

    Posted by: Pedro | May 1, 2013 10:04:47 AM


  14. The obvious political solution here seems to be to put off voting on this bill until after the Supreme Court decision. If we win, the issue goes away and everyone can vote for the immigration bill as is and claim credit for it. If we force the issue now, we'll lose as the democrats will chase the hispanic vote a lot harder than the gay vote. And I think scared democrats will use the upcoming supreme court vote to weasel out of this anyway. So the gay lobbyist message needs to be we won't pressure you now, but you need to wait for the supreme court decision, and if we lose in that decision, you need to get gay partners included in the immigration bill and dare republicans to kill the amended bill.

    Posted by: Brian | May 1, 2013 10:12:07 AM


  15. Now gays know how the trans community feels about ENDA..
    I have some issues with the trans community...especially trans females and their characteristic nastiness...however, I can see their viewpoint on ENDA...though I do not agree. I also do not agree that killing this bill is better than passing it without the gay spouse provision.

    Posted by: pedro | May 1, 2013 10:35:07 AM


  16. Secure the border. Deport the illegal aliens (all of them). And then we'll talk about other things.

    Posted by: David Hearne | May 1, 2013 11:25:24 AM


  17. It is a sign of how twisted and sick this society has become that some US Senators would be willing to vote for a bill that would allow people who broke the law by coming to this country and who continue to be in violation of it by simply being here--but would withdraw their support of it if it allowed the life partner of an actual United States citizen to immigrate in order to be with the person they love.

    And Democrats have been willing to go along with it, so none of you can place the blame solely on Republicans.

    I personally hope the whole bill goes up in smoke.......the only parts that deserve to be passed are those that would strengthen border security and require validation of citizenship as a condition of employment.

    Posted by: Rick | May 1, 2013 11:37:29 AM


  18. While we should fight for inclusion in the immigration bill, we should not block it if we come up short. The hispanic community has been our ally in electing Democrats who support equality. If the Republicans can block the immigration bill with LGBT rights in it, our response should not be to kill the bill. We don't want to come across as "Well, if we're not getting ours - you're not getting yours." The gay community should never be seen as standing in the way of a better life for 11 million people in the name of political correctness. We need to be practical and live to fight another day.

    Posted by: Jimsur212 | May 1, 2013 12:04:16 PM


  19. @David Hearne
    How far back do you want to go to determine who the 'illegals' in America are?
    We're ALL uninvited.
    Your responses are arrogance marinated in privilege.

    Posted by: JONES | May 1, 2013 12:06:48 PM


  20. "How far back do you want to go to determine who the 'illegals' in America are?
    We're ALL uninvited.
    Your responses are arrogance marinated in privilege"

    So, by that logic, we should just throw all the borders open and let anybody in the world who wants to come here do so, right?

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is the brilliance that the Far Left is known for.

    And for those who think Hispanics are our "allies", no, that is yet another case of lying/wishful thinking on the part of the Far Left. Homophobia remains rampant among them, especially the uneducated, half-literate types who would be given the vote if amnesty is granted. Devout Catholics all.

    "Oh, but they vote for Democrats"--Yes, they do, in order to a) get handouts, and b) get amnesty......NOT because they are in any way pro-gay......and if the only way the Democratic Party can remain viable is to bring in a never-ending supply of illiterate peasants from the most backwards precincts of the Third World, then that is a sad commentary on it and anyone who supports it.....

    Posted by: Rick | May 1, 2013 12:27:47 PM


  21. "How far back do you want to go to determine who the 'illegals' in America are?
    We're ALL uninvited.
    Your responses are arrogance marinated in privilege"

    "So, by that logic, we should just throw all the borders open and let anybody in the world who wants to come here do so, right?"

    See how illogical your mind is and how quickly you run to the fear tactic ... 'Throw open the borders!' Discussions of who is an immigrant and how to move forward on immigration reform will lead to 'throw open the borders' and 'third world peasants here to get handouts'. That's the classic meme of the diseased mindset of the far right. Anything that you can perceive as a possible threat to your privileged world is demonized.

    When did your family immigrate to America?

    Posted by: JONES | May 1, 2013 12:48:37 PM


  22. I actually believe in manned but open borders worldwide. There is something fascist about closed borders that I really hate. I think we should check people at the border for weapons, communicable dseases and criminal insanity...if they are clear of these let them in. But no welfare of any kind for them and if they have kids they cannot afford to mind or commit a crime then back across the border.

    Posted by: pedro | May 1, 2013 1:27:57 PM


  23. I actually believe in manned but open borders worldwide. There is something fascist about closed borders that I really hate. I think we should check people at the border for weapons, communicable dseases and criminal insanity...if they are clear of these let them in. But no welfare of any kind for them and if they have kids they cannot afford to mind or commit a crime then back across the border.

    Posted by: pedro | May 1, 2013 1:27:59 PM


  24. @David Hearne
    How far back do you want to go to determine who the 'illegals' in America are?
    We're ALL uninvited.
    Your responses are arrogance marinated in privilege.

    Posted by: JONES

    Grow up. Illegal aliens are persons who are in this country illegally.

    Posted by: David Hearne | May 1, 2013 2:13:10 PM


  25. When did your family immigrate to America?
    Posted by: JONES | May 1, 2013 12:48:37 PM

    One line arrived a couple thousand years ago from Asia. The Europeans arrived at Jamestown and my last arrival was my maternal grandmother's family who came over from St Kitts in 1685. I have no ancestors who immigrated to the United States as it did not yet exist.

    Posted by: David Hearne | May 1, 2013 2:17:35 PM


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