Sen. Leahy scolds his colleagues for killing LGBT equality in immigration reform
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on Monday again chided his fellow lawmakers for killing an anti-discrimination amendment to comprehensive immigration reform.
“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,” he continued.
Last month, Leahy reluctantly withheld an amendment to the comprehensive immigration bill to ensure equality for binational same-sex couples.
The amendment would have allowed foreign same-sex spouses and partners to apply for visas. Such couples are currently prohibited from receiving a spousal visa under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriages as solely between a man and a woman. There were about 28,500 binational same-sex couples in the United States in 2011 who lacked the same rights as binational opposite-sex couples, according to Williams Institute study.
“Despite many shortcomings as a result of compromise, the bill before the Senate is worth of this chamber’s immediate attention,” Leahy concluded.
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