Leahy Introduces LGBT Inclusive Amendment to Immigration Bill
Less than a month after reproaching his fellow lawmakers for abandoning LGBT equality in immigration reform, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D - VT), has filed an amendment to the Gang of Eight immigration bill that would allow the spouses of gay and lesbian U.S. citizens to become permanent residents. POLITICO reports
"Seeking equal protection under our laws for the LGBT community is the right thing to do," Leahy said in a statement Tuesday. "I withheld my anti-discrimination amendment during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup. As the entire Senate turns to debate the immigration bill, the fight for equality must go on."
Last month, Leahy withdrew the measure after an emotional debate during the committee markup, after several Democrats said they would vote against his amendment in order to preserve the overall bill.
As reported in Raw Story, Leahy chided fellow Democrats last month for abandoning inclusive legislation.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
"The bill now before the Senate is not the bill I would have drafted," he said on the Senate floor. "I voted for amendments in the Judiciary Committee that were rejected and I voted against some amendments that were accepted. I withheld an amendment for what to me is an issue of fundamental fairness in ending discrimination after Republican senators pledged to abandon their support for this bill had that amendment been offered, and I cannot begin to tell this Senate how much it hurt to withdraw that amendment,"
POLITICO further reports.
It is unclear whether Leahy's proposal will get a vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have yet to reach an agreement on amendments.
And the political dynamics for Leahy's amendment are different on the floor. In the committee, the amendment would have required just a simple majority for it to pass. On the floor, it will almost certainly need 60 votes.
The Supreme Court could also weigh in on the matter. Later this month, the court is expected to rule on the Defense of Marriage Act, and if that law is overturned, same-sex couples might be able to petition for green cards.