Same Sex Couples Left Out of Senate Immigration Bill

Obama will include LGBT concerns in immigration speech today

Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed reports that President Obama will include same-sex couples in his speech on immigration reform today in Las Vegas. The Senate bill on immigration reform released yesterday, however, specifically omits same-sex couples “to maintain its bipartisan support” in Congress.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) excludes same-sex bi-national couples from federal benefits that are automatic for opposite-sex bi-national couples. For example, an American citizen in a same-sex union cannot sponsor his or her non-citizen partner for a green card, even if the couple is legally married under state law.

Democratic lawmakers indicated to LGBT advocates on a conference call Monday that they would attempt to include same-sex couples in the Senate bill via amendments, but “there was no guarantee” that the final language would include gay couples.

The Senate proposal contains four main areas for reform: enforcing the border, mandating that employers avoid hiring illegal workers, controlling legal immigration, and forging a “pathway to citizenship” for people who entered the country illegally.

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