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Senator Patrick Leahy Files Floor Amendment to Immigration Bill for Gay Binational Couples

Senator Patrick Leahy has filed a floor amendment to the immigration bill for gay binational couples, the Washington Blade reports:

LeahySen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced on Tuesday he filed an amendment to comprehensive immigration reform along the lines of a carve-out to the Defense of Marriage Act that he proposed — and withdrew — when the Senate Judiciary Committee was considering the bill.

“Seeking equal protection under our laws for the LGBT community is the right thing to do,” Leahy said in a statement. “I withheld my anti-discrimination amendment during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup. As the entire Senate turns to debate the immigration bill, the fight for equality must go on.”

The amendment filed by Leahy, No. 1182, would repeal part of DOMA to enable married bi-national same-sex couples to apply for a visa through the marriage-based green-card application process.

Read the amendment HERE.

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Comments

  1. This is CRUCIAL to achieving marriage equality at the federal level. We cannot depend on the Supreme Court to end DOMA.

    Senator Leahy will not add his name to the historic register of blatant homophobic bigots. Five years from now it'll be a shameful list, 100 years from now it was be an infamous one.

    Posted by: Sundayboy | Jun 12, 2013 8:55:22 AM


  2. Do we have any insight on why he withheld the amendment during committee markup? Wouldn't it be more likely to succeed if he had offered it in committee? I honestly don't know much about this process and would love some clarification if anyone knows.

    Posted by: JC | Jun 12, 2013 9:11:59 AM


  3. Do we have any insight on why he withheld the amendment during committee markup? Wouldn't it be more likely to succeed if he had offered it in committee? I honestly don't know much about this process and would love some clarification if anyone knows.

    Posted by: JC | Jun 12, 2013 9:12:08 AM


  4. Ah, sorry, I found the answer when I read the article: Leahy withdrew the amendments from the committee — saying he was doing so with “a heavy heart” — after Republicans said they’d bolt from immigration reform if it were adopted and Democrats said they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for the amendment if it meant the larger bill would lose bipartisan support.

    Posted by: JC | Jun 12, 2013 9:13:25 AM


  5. Ah, sorry, I found the answer when I read the article: Leahy withdrew the amendments from the committee — saying he was doing so with “a heavy heart” — after Republicans said they’d bolt from immigration reform if it were adopted and Democrats said they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for the amendment if it meant the larger bill would lose bipartisan support.

    Posted by: JC | Jun 12, 2013 9:13:29 AM


  6. Sundayboy has said it. It is causing senseless and inhumane distress to block one half of gay binational couples from full immigration rights in the United States. I have recently been host to a fine English fellow and his Texas boyfriend of four years and have seen this painful discrimination up close. Thank you Senator Leahy for doing "the right thing."

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jun 12, 2013 9:16:28 AM


  7. That's right, JC. All amendments on the Senate floor will be subject to a 60 vote threshold, meaning the only real chance of including it in the bill was in committee.

    Posted by: Josh | Jun 12, 2013 9:17:23 AM


  8. Thank you, Sen. Leahy. And you're right, JC. Leahy had little choice but to withdraw it earlier since the Republicans considered it a poison pill and the others Democrats abandoned Leahy. If there were more like him it would have had a chance to make it into the bill, but there aren't.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 12, 2013 9:19:01 AM


  9. Democrats should not let the bill go forward without the inclusion and protections for gay people. I know many will say if that happens we won't get any immigration reform but if that happens Republicans will be so shamed they can guarantee the loss of their jobs in the next election. All those minorities who can vote, and they are now a huge block of people, can and should destroy the Republican Party with their single votes.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Jun 12, 2013 9:52:20 AM


  10. This is kabuki theater. Leahy pulled the amendment in committee because several Democrats (Schumer, Feinstein, Durbin, Franken) would have had to reluctantly vote against it because they understand that Republicans are not bluffing when they say they will kill a bill that includes LGBT binational couples.

    As Josh noted above, it will now take 60 votes to break a filibuster and move the amendment forward on the Senate floor. That means all 52 Dems (and 2 independents who caucus with the Dems) can now vote for the bill knowing that the amendment will still not pass, so the larger bill will not be torpedoed.

    Dems all get to go on record as having voted for the amendment, Republicans will get the blame for killing it.

    Posted by: 24play | Jun 12, 2013 10:47:56 AM


  11. This is political theater -- the democrats doing something meaningless after neglecting to do something meaningful. Not only is Leahy throwing us a bone, he's throwing an imaginary bone.

    Posted by: Richard | Jun 12, 2013 11:00:14 AM


  12. It's only imaginary because it doesn't have the votes of Sen. Leahy's colleagues. Sen. Leahy has taken action for binational couples in my state and it's hardly his fault if the votes aren't there--his vote is there. Furthermore, if you take things out of consideration just because they have no chance of passing in a paralyzed Congress, then there would nothing. It's not like the right-wing Republicans aren't going to put amendments forth that also have no chance of passing.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 12, 2013 11:05:43 AM


  13. Shi@head Republicans will block it. We have to kick Repu licans out of office at the midterm elections. No gay rights will progress until Democrats have control of both Houses.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Jun 12, 2013 1:43:01 PM


  14. So, gay hate could derail chances for millions of immigrants. Gay rights are not the slam dunk we perceive.

    Posted by: EB | Jun 12, 2013 2:50:50 PM


  15. So, gay hate could derail chances for millions of immigrants. Gay rights are not the slam dunk we perceive.

    Posted by: EB | Jun 12, 2013 2:50:50 PM


  16. Immigration reform won't pass the house... I don't see why we allowed it to be watered down to begin with. We should have put our best bill forward, dared the Senate Republicans to vote against it, then used the bill to whack any republican who voted against it - and the entire house gop - in the upcoming election. Then maybe, just maybe, we could have gotten an immigration bill through. and we wouldn't have had to destroy our principals to do it.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jun 12, 2013 3:38:11 PM


  17. I don't know the ins and outs of Senatorial procedure, but if we're looking for a vote on immigration rights for same-sex married couples, the cloture vote on the amendment will do just as well (assuming it fails) in identifying who are true allies are.

    I really like the Leahy amendment since it settles the question of what state law prevails for federal purposes in the case that the couple live in a red state. As a Californian engaged to an Arizonan, this is of particular importance to me.

    Posted by: Rich | Jun 12, 2013 5:02:29 PM


  18. The story is why the bill will be rejected. Not how wonderful it will be for Graham Norton and Jane Lynch to be able to make their partners American citizens.

    Posted by: gb | Jun 12, 2013 6:13:02 PM


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