Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy is pushing the Senate to expand the immigration bill to be inclusive of gay and lesbian couples.
If the Senate agrees, the bill would allow for American gay and lesbian people to be sponsors of their foreign partner. This would provide an opportunity for the partner to gain access to immigration and to officially marry under the law.
The current immigration law permits binational heterosexual couples to be protected under immigration laws, but that protection is not extended to homosexual couples. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which states that marriage is between a man and woman, will not recognize same-sex binational unions as means for legal protection.
In 2011, the Williams Institute study found that there were 28,500 binational homosexual couples living in the US and raising approximately 7,700 children, reported the Raw Story.
“For immigration reform to be truly comprehensive, it must include protections for all families,” Senator Leahy said in a statement. He continued, “We must end the discrimination that gay and lesbian families face in our immigration law.”
Senator Leahy’s Press Spokesperson David Carle declined to comment on behalf of Leahy, but pointed 429Magazine to the Senator’s postings on Twitter.
“Americans should not have to choose between the love of their life and love of their country.” Leahy also tweeted, “#Immigration reform includes uniting families. Tonite I filed #UAFA as amendment.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to review the bill on Thursday, May 9.