Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is the first Republican supporter of a bill that would allow U.S. citizens to bring their foreign same-sex partners to the country for legal residency.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Collins (R-Maine) will introduce the bill, which Leahy has introduced every year since 2003 and insisted should be part of any immigration reform deal.
“More than two dozen countries recognize same-sex couples for immigration purposes,” Collins said. “This important civil rights legislation would help prevent committed, loving families from being forced to choose between leaving their family or leaving their country.”
Leahy said “any legislation that comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee should recognize the rights of all Americans, including gay and lesbian Americans, who have just as much right to spousal immigration benefits as anyone else.”
When a bipartisan group of senators proposed a framework for comprehensive immigration reform two weeks ago, the issue of same-sex partners did not come up, and the White House has not taken a public stand on the issue.