A gay rights provision Democrats want to insert in the Senate’s immigration bill may ultimately kill the legislation.
According to Politico, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has told gay rights groups that he will introduce an amendment next week that will allow gay Americans to sponsor foreign-born partners for green cards.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Gang of Eight along with Republicans like Sens. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (SC) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (AZ), said Leahy’s amendment will “virtually guarantee” the bill will not pass.
“This issue is a difficult enough issue as it is,” he told Politico. “I respect everyone’s views on it. But ultimately, if that issue is injected into this bill, the bill will fail and the coalition that helped put it together will fall apart.”
The amendment will reportedly help as many as 40,000 gay couples, and Democrats “are expected to make the high-risk push because they aren’t convinced that Republicans would ultimately abandon the measure.”
Top officials with the Human Rights Campaign and Immigration Equality “said Leahy has made clear in meetings with advocates and Vermont constituents that he will move ahead with” the gay rights amendment.
“It’s not going to kill the bill,” Leahy said last week.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), both of whom are on the Gang of Eight and the Judiciary Committee, signaled they would vote for the amendment even though it may reduce the number of votes the bill ultimately receives on the floor.
Various faith organizations that are supporting the immigration bill said the gay rights amendment may force them to withdraw their support.
Kevin Appleby, director of the Catholic Bishops’ Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs, said his organization “would oppose the provision and it could force us to reconsider our support for the bill.”
Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, said, “Latinos are simply not going to stand” for the provision meant to “appease the gay lobby.”