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Schumer Insists LGBT Immigration Rights DOA, Leahy Fights On

Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont

Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont

The political battle over immigration reform is getting heated with debate stemming from whether or not they would pass the immigration bill with LGBT immigration rights woven into the bill. Currently, we have Senator Chuck Schumer certain that the bill will die if it includes LGBT rights protections, and Senator Pat Leahy adamant that it won’t. We also have the Family Equality Council rather firmly upset over the whole issue.

Senator Schumer’s
spokeswoman Kasie Hunt stated that “Sen. Schumer says he’d like to see the same sex couples provisions included, but notes intense opposition among Gang of 8 GOPers.” She also noted that “Sen. Schumer refuses to say if he’d vote for an amendment allowing same sex spouses to apply for legal status under immigration bill.” Senator Marco Rubio has stated emphatically that he would oppose any LGBT rights in the bill.

Amendment Leahy 6 and Amendment Leahy 7, both dealing with LGBT immigration rights, have yet to come up for a vote, and it is expected to come up for a vote next week.

Senator Leahy, though, has said that “You know at some point we’re going to have to face it, and we’ll have to decide when’s the best time to face it.”

He went on to say “You can’t go into a state like mine or, it will be now 11 or 12 states and the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal, and say to this couple, ‘OK, we can help you with the immigration matter.’ Turn to another couple equally legally married and say, ‘Oh, we have to discriminate against you. We can’t do anything for you.’”

And concluded by saying that “On this question of same-sex marriage. In our state, we feel very strongly about this, that people should not be discriminated against. And I want to find a way that couples who are married legally, when one is not an American citizen, they can have the same rights as all other couples married legally.”

The FEC is not happy with how this whole debate has been going, especially those who are opposing the matters.

FEC Director of Public Policy Emily Hecht-McGowan lambasted the way the debate has gone by saying that “This isn’t a game. Scoring political points at the expense of immigrant families who are struggling each and every day to keep their families together is reprehensible. This is an issue of family values, and no one on Capitol Hill who says they are pro-family can ignore the plight of tens of thousands of LGBT immigrant families who risk a future of uncertainty, separation, and exile. It’s abhorrent that some lawmakers would willingly separate parents from their children and it flies in the face of our country’s core values.”

She added to that saying “Immigration reform is not comprehensive if it leaves some families behind. We are watching closely which lawmakers stand with us and which turn a blind eye to the exclusion of our families in this legislation. We will remember.”

Still, she lauded Vermont’s Senator Leahy by saying that he “recognizes that any immigration reform legislation needs to include our families. He isn’t introducing an outside social issue, as some opponents have accused, he is ensuring that the bill includes everyone. He should be commended for filing the amendments and applauded when he offers them officially. The rest of the Judiciary Committee has a clear choice to make: are they with families or against them? The world will be watching how they decide.”

Consideration of the bill will continue next week, and it may continue into June when the Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling regarding the Defense of Marriage Act.

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