Immigration reform just got hotter with the news of Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) re-introduction of the controversial amendment that would allow gay couples to claim foreign-born partners as family. The amendment, which was previously removed when the bill (S. 744) cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee, has drawn the ire of Republicans, including the bill’s co-author and arguably strongest conservative proponent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Rubio said on Thursday that he will not support the bill if the amendment is included.
“If this bill has something in it that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I’m done,” Rubio said on the Andrea Tantaros Show. “I’m off it, and I’ve said that repeatedly. I don’t think that’s going to happen and it shouldn’t happen. This is already a difficult enough issue as it is.”
All the Republicans in the Gang of Eight have declared similar opposition, so much so that Leahy initially removed the amendment during markup. Leahy said he is re-introducing because it “would remove discrimination from our immigration system.”
“Seeking equal protection under our laws for the LGBT community, is the right thing to do,” Leahy said. “I withheld my anti-discrimination amendment during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup. As the entire Senate turns to debate the immigration bill, the fight for equality must go on.”
There is already a heated debate over border security, national security, and when the legalization of the 11 million illegals will occur. Leahy’s move seems like nothing but a classic party-line dig that will end up doing nothing but ruining a bill that has garnered some genuine bipartisan support.