WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee is aiming this week to pass a landmark immigration bill to secure the border and offer citizenship to millions, setting up a high-stakes debate on the Senate floor.
But first, the committee must resolve a few remaining disputes.
Among them is a disagreement over whether gay Americans should be given the right to sponsor their foreign-born spouses for green cards like straight Americans can.
Gay rights groups are pressuring Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), to offer an amendment allowing this, but Republican authors of the immigration bill insist that they’ll abandon their support for their legislation if such a measure is included.
The dispute was put off until last week as lawmakers negotiated behind the scenes and weighed their options.
Senate Republicans have branded the addition of same-sex bi-national couples a “poison pill” amendment that could jeopardize the entire bill, and have publicly said they would not support such an amendment.
Democrats, meanwhile, don’t want to risk angering the LGBT community by speaking against it, or endangering the bill by supporting it too strongly.
President Barack Obama said earlier this month that he supports recognizing same-sex partner in the bill, but has not indicated whether he would sign legislation that fails to do so.