After a week of broad hints, Senate Democrats have made it official: they aren’t going to introduce an amendment to include same-sex bi-national couples in immigration reform. Sen. Patrick Leahy had promised to introduce the measure, but during a session of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday night, he turned to his fellow Democrats to find a way out.
‘‘I don’t want to be the senator who asks people to choose between the love of their life and the love of their country,’’ Leahy said, asking for the opinions of others. One after another, Democrats said they love the gays, but they weren’t going to jeopardize immigration reform.
Republicans, being Republicans, had promised to kill the measure entirely if it included any protections for same-sex couples. Democrats, being Democrats, folded.
‘‘I believe in my heart of hearts that what you’re doing is the right and just thing,’’ said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. ‘‘But I believe this is the wrong moment, that this is the wrong bill.’’ Durbin didn’t speculate as to whether there will ever a right moment and a right bill, but if there is it’s years away. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who was the point person for the measure, also announced he would not vote for the amendment if it was introduced, which means he’s probably in for a round of very angry phone calls over the next few days.
With the chorus of “Gee, we wish it weren’t the case but what can you do,” ringing in his ears, Leahy decided with a “heavy heart” not to introduce his amendment. The gay-free reform measure was passed by a 13-5 vote. Now it goes to the Senate floor, where no doubt the full body will find additional ways to love us without lifting a finger for us.