Leahy to make further same-sex couples amendment attempt

Democratic senator Patrick Leahy is to make another attempt to amend the immigration reform bill to include sponsorship for American citizens’ same-sex partners, following the withdrawal of a similar measure at an earlier stage in the committee.  Senator Leahy filed the amendment on Tuesday despite having withdrawn the amendment earlier, according to Politico.

The committee passed the bill by 13 votes to 5 after the amendment was withdrawn.  “Seeking equal protection under our laws for the LGBT community is the right thing to do,” Leahy says.  “I withheld my anti-discrimination amendment during the Senate Judiciary Committee mark-up.  As the entire Senate turns to debate the immigration bill, the fight for equality must go on.”

The amendment had been given the backing of President Barack Obama; however, despite Leahy’s best efforts, a number of Republicans on the fragile bipartisan coalition had threatened to vote against the immigration bill had the amendment been included.  Gay rights advocates say that around 36,000 couples that already live in the United States are not able to get a green card, with many more being forced to live overseas due to their inability to obtain the visa.

The amendment will need a minimum of 60 votes to pass, and it is uncertain at this point whether it will get a vote.  The Supreme Court may also have something to say on the issue, with a ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act expected by the end of this month.