Patrick Leahy proposes same-sex amendments [View all]
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) proposed two amendments to the Gang of Eight immigration legislation to extend legal rights to gay couples, one of whom is foreign born.
Leahy’s move Tuesday to file the amendments doesn’t mean they will be offered when his committee begins to mark up immigration reform on Thursday. But it leaves the option open for him to do so, either in committee or during Senate floor debate.
The move will spark a contentious fight over gay rights and illegal immigration that has the potential to shatter the immigration deal. If Leahy offers the amendments in committee where Democrats hold a 10-8 majority, it is likely to pass and could endanger the overall reform effort if Republicans make good on their threats to oppose the bill.
Republican members of the Gang of Eight opposed including the language regarding same-sex partners in the initial measure because they view it as a deal-breaker for conservatives.