Protections For Same-Sex Couples

The immigration reform bill of the “Gang of Eight” does not include provisions for same-sex couples. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), one of the members of the “Gang of Eight” stated that the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”, will fail if an amendment that would allow the same sex couples to sponsor their partners is injected into it.

Patrick Leahy, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, submitted two amendments that would permit same-sex couples to sponsor their partners. He stated that the gay and lesbian couples must not be discriminated and that comprehensive immigration reform must include all families. There are many from the tech community including Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, Eric Schmidt of Google and Zuckberg of Facebook, who want the country to treat the same sex couples equally. But few Evangelical groups and the Catholic bishops are against this. According to Senator Patrick Leahy, LGBT protections would not imperil immigration reform.

Around 54 senators have endorsed marriage equality and want to include provisions for LGBT couples in the comprehensive immigration reform bill and there seems to be a bipartisan support for equal rights for same sex couples. However, Rubio does not want to include LGBT protections in the immigration reform bill. Senator Patrick’s Leahy’s amendments would permit the US citizens to sponsor their foreign born same sex couples for US Green Cards. However, to do so they need to prove that a legal relationship exists between them and the beneficiaries.

According to the immigration bill of the Senators, undocumented immigrants will have to wait for thirteen years to become US citizens and the bill includes border security goals. Only after the meeting the border security triggers, undocumented immigrants would be granted authorization to apply for legal status. Under Leahy’s plan, US citizens would be allowed to sponsor their same sex partners if the states in which they live recognize same sex marriages and if their states do not recognize such marriages, they would be required to meet a variety of requirements.

Rubio stated that the House controlled by the Republicans will not support an immigration reform bill that includes amendments that would permit same sex couples to sponsor their partners. Nevertheless, the members of the House will introduce their immigration reform bills sooner.