Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) today introduced an amendment to the immigration reform bill to benefit same-sex partners of American citizens and Green Card holders.
If the immigration bill passes with the amendment, gay U.S. citizens and permanent residents would be able to petition for certain immigration processes the same way heterosexual couples can.
- If someone is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, he or she can bring a foreign spouse or fiancé to live in the U.S. by petitioning for a Green Card or a K-3 visa.
- If someone is an U.S. citizen, he or she can bring a foreign fiancé and marry within 90 days in the U.S. by petitioning for a K-1 visa.
Immigration laws currently do not allow the above for same sex couples because same sex marriage is not legal in the U.S. on a federal level.
“Seeking equal protection under our laws for the LGBT community is the right thing to do,” Leahy said Tuesday.
Leahy did not introduce this amendment during the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting a few weeks ago. It is now going to be debated in the full senate. This means that the same-sex amendment will need more votes in order for it to be adopted.
“As the entire Senate turns to debate the immigration bill, the fight for equality must go on,” he said.
The Supreme Court will rule on the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, later this month. DOMA is the 1996 law that made same-sex marriage illegal on a federal level. DOMA is the main obstacle for LGBT couples who need to apply for immigration processes based on marriage.
More on Immigration Reform:
- Immigration Reform 2013
- Gang of 8
- Earned Citizenship
- Streamlining Immigration
- Strengthening Border Security
- More Accountability for Employers Hiring Undocumented Immigrants