WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday that if the Senate Judiciary Committee attached an amendment to include provisions for same-sex bi-national couples in the pending immigration reform bill, he’ll pull his support.
Graham, one of four Senate Republicans in the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” that crafted the legislation, cautioned that any LGBT provisions would be a non-starter for Senate Republicans.
“If the Judiciary Committee tries to redefine marriage in the immigration bill they will lose me and many others,” Graham tweeted.
LGBT advocacy groups are pushing for inclusion of language from the proposed Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) as an amendment to the legislation being considered for immigration reform.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has proposed an amendment to the massive bill that would allow the foreign-born same-sex partners of gay U.S. citizens to apply for green card status.
Current language in the immigration reform bill doesn’t address the problems faced by bi-national same-sex couples, who under the Defense of Marriage Act, (DOMA) cannot petition for green cards for their foreign national partners.
Because the federal government denies recognition to legally married same-sex couples, those couples are deprived of the usual access to immigration laws that allow all other American citizens to petition for a green card for their foreign spouses.
In most cases, DOMA is the only obstacle preventing married bi-national couples from achieving resolution of the immigration issue.
“This issue is a difficult enough issue as it is,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla), also a member of the “gang of eight.” “I respect everyone’s views on it. But ultimately, if that issue is injected into this bill, the bill will fail and the coalition that helped put it together will fall apart.”