Monday, May 13, 2013


Gang Of  8 Senator: Immigration Amendment Redefining Marriage For Gay Couples Would End My Support For Bill

By Brody Levesque | WASHINGTON -- South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham announced Monday that should the Senate Judiciary Committee vote to include provisions for same-sex bi-national couples in the pending immigration reform bill, he'll pull his support.
Graham, a member of the bipartisan "gang of eight," along with fellow GOP gang of eight member Florida Senator Marco Rubio, have cautioned that any LGBT provisions would be a non-starter for Senate Republicans.
“This issue is a difficult enough issue as it is,” Rubio said. “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.”
LGBT advocacy groups are pushing for inclusion of language from the proposed Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) as an amendment to the legislation being considered for immigration reform.
“Current immigration law as it exists does not allow gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor their foreign spouse for a green card like heterosexual couples can,” said Amos Lim, a spokesperson for the advocacy group Out4Immigration.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced amendments to the measure last week that would give same-sex couples the same equal treatment as heterosexual ones under immigration law.
Current language in the immigration reform bill doesn't address the problems faced by bi-national same-sex couples, who under the Defense of Marriage Act, (DOMA) cannot petition for green cards for their foreign national partners.
Because the federal government denies recognition to legally married same-sex couples, those couples are deprived of the usual access to immigration laws that allow all other American citizens to petition for a green card for their foreign spouses. In most cases, DOMA is the only obstacle preventing married bi-national couples from achieving resolution of the immigration issue.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the president has voiced his support for inclusion of the provisions to allow same-sex couples to petition for spousal green cards, he noted that the president has also said that he would be willing to sign a bill that excluded provisions for same-sex couples.
“We have said that we support that provision, but we also think it’s very important to recognize that the overall bill here accomplishes what the President believes needs to be accomplished, and is in keeping with his principles,” Carney said.