Senate Democrats, whose chief attribute is their wobbliness, are wringing their hands over what to do about gay protections in the immigration reform bill. According to Politico, the Democrats are “paralyzed” about whether to move ahead with a vote on an amendment to protect bi-national same-sex couples because their afraid it will sink the entire bill. Paralysis being the natural state for Democrats, they have turned to President Obama to see if he can figure a way out for them or, more likely, take the heat if the protections aren’t included.
The problem for the Democrats is that Republicans like John McCain and Marco Rubio have said that the protections would blow up the compromise measure, which is on pretty thin ice to begin with. Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy did introduce the amendment, and there it sits amid the dither. Sen. Chuck Schumer had promised that the amendment would get a vote in the Judiciary Committee, where it is all but certain to pass, but now it’s not clear that is going to happen.
Steve Ralls, a spokesman for Immigration Equality, took Schumer to task for not pushing back against Republican resistance. “Quite frankly, he hasn’t stood up as strongly for gay families as we’d like. At some point, it would be good to see our friends put up a noble fight in committee.”
So what can Obama do? Provider Schumer and other Democrats cover by asking them not to sponsor a committee vote. Obama said protection for same-sex bi-national couples is “the right thing to do,” but he has also refrained from saying it absolutely has to be part of immigration reform. So when push comes to shove, guess who will get hung out to dry? Sorry, but no extra points for knowing the answer to the question.