Immigration reform continues its slow, painful death in Congress — where hope and old white men go to die — as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy introduced a gay rights amendment to the Senate’s immigration bill on Tuesday.
Republicans fear the inclusion of LGBTs will sink the legislation much like a rubber inner tube adrift on the sharp rocks of freedom.
“It’ll kill the bill,” said perpetually parched Florida Senator Marco Rubio, himself the son of Cuban immigrants and (let’s hope not) a potential presidential candidate in 2016.”There is a coalition of groups who are supporting immigration reform who will not support it if that’s in there.”
Rubio is seen as a key to attracting conservative sponsorship of the bill, but Republicans have been butting heads with Democrats for weeks over LGBT protections. The bill is expected to head to the full Senate in June and Leahy might delay his amendment till then instead of taking it up in committee.
Either way, the Vermont Senator maintains that “for immigration reform to be truly comprehensive, it must include protections for all families,” Leahy said. “We must end the discrimination that gay and lesbian families face in our immigration law.”
President Obama reaffirmed his support of including LGBTs in the immigration bill, noting that it was “the right thing to do,” though he acknowledged that concessions will have to be made. The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up the bill on Thursday.