Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) threatened to draw back his support from the current immigration reform bill if an amendment to add gay immigration rights is included. This is not the first time Rubio has spoken publicly about his opposition of homosexual rights being added to the immigration bill he co-authored with the Senate’s Gang of Eight.
Several fellow members of the GOP are also opposed, fearing that adding gay rights would taint what are already fragile immigration reform efforts. The initial negativity from Congress towards adding a homosexual rights clause in the bill is not a good sign for undocumented immigrants in the homosexual community hoping to gain rights under the reform.
“If this bill has something in it that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I’m done,” Rubio stated during an interview Thursday on the Andrea Tanataros Show on Fox News. “I’m off it, and I’ve said that repeatedly. I don’t think that’s going to happen and it shouldn’t happen. This is already a difficult enough issue as it is.”
Rubio made the statements in response to Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) proposed amendment to the immigration bill that would allow same-sex married couples to petition for legal status should one of their partners be an undocumented immigrant . Nevertheless, the idea may never become reality unless the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is overturned.
If the Supreme Court were to strike down DOMA and allow same-sex marriages, then the same process that is used for heterosexual couples under immigration law to obtain legal status would apply to gay immigrant couples if a clause for homosexual rights were added to the immigration reform.
Immigration reform efforts are in a precarious position even without the stubborn views of far-right representatives. Red-line standards like Rubio’s that do not allow for compromise threaten to cost these would-be Americans greatly while fighting for a standard that has less and less public support every day.
Krysta is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.