Same-sex couples still hope for immigration rights

USDespite the fact that the Senate neglected to vote to give same-sex couples equal rights in the debate over immigration, many supporters of the reform bill continue to be in favor of it, noting that there is still hope due to a number of other aspects of the bill.

On May 21st the Senate voted to support the bipartisan legislation from the “Gang of Eight” Senators, with equal rights for gay and lesbian couples not included in the deal because members were fearful that such an amendment would result in a lack of support from conservatives.  While supporters do not believe that the bill is perfect, most immigrants continue to be in favor of it due to what it means to their families but remain distressed by the lack of political interest and recognition they have received in the process.

“Immigrants come in all shapes and forms,” says immigration reform advocate and journalist Jose Antonio Vargas.  “Is it too much to be looked at as a full human being, as an undocumented immigrant who happens to be gay?  That’s what I find so frustrating in this whole process – but I support this bill.  This is not a perfect bill but we need to move forward and this is a bill that gets us forward.  So let’s go forward.”

Some Senators threatened to withdraw their support for the bill if the inclusion of same-sex couples in the legislation, as proposed by Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, went ahead.