Metro Weekly

Sen. Patrick Leahy files LGBT amendments to immigration bill

As promised, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, filed two amendments today that would amend the Senate’s immigration-reform bill to extend protections to binational same-sex couples.

Thumbnail image for Patrick Leahy.jpg“For immigration reform to be truly comprehensive, it must include protections for all families,” Leahy said in a statement. “We must end the discrimination that gay and lesbian families face in our immigration law.”

If adopted, Leahy’s first amendment would add protections to the Senate’s 844-page immigration bill that mirror the language of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would recognize immigrants in relationships with Americans of the same sex and grant rights denied to immigrants in relationships with Americans of the same sex, including eligibility for green cards, due to the Defense of Marriage Act. According to Leahy’s office, his second amendment would provide “equal protection to lawfully married bi-national same sex couples that other spouses receive under existing immigration law.”

Senate Republicans, including some of those who are members of the bipartisan “gang of eight” who drafted the Senate bill, have threatened to derail immigration reform over inclusion of same-sex couples. Advocates, however, have blasted such threats.

“If they end up doing that, they should just own it and call it what it is: homophobia,” the Human Rights Campaign said in a fiery statement today that also chronicled the momentum for equality in recent years. “Labeling the inclusion of bi-national couples in the immigration bill as toxic is nothing more than a tired, insulting ruse designed to distract attention from their own failure to represent all Americans.”

Advocates have indicated that they expect the Judiciary Committee to consider Leahy’s amendments next week.

[Photo: Patrick Leahy (Courtesy of the U.S. Senate)]

Read Leahy’s amendments here:

Leahy UAFA Amendment

Leahy Marriage Amendment

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!

Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's former political editor and White House correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @JustinCSnow.

Leave a Comment: