Gay binational couples still have a chance to be included in a massive immigration overhaul currently being discussed in the Senate.
According to the Washington Blade, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy announced on June 11 that he filed a floor amendment to include provisions that would ensure gay binational couples can legally stay together in the U.S.
“Seeking equal protection under our laws for the LGBT community is the right thing to do,” Leahy said in a statement. “I withheld my anti-discrimination amendment during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup. As the entire Senate turns to debate the immigration bill, the fight for equality must go on.”
Currently, laws do not allow for foreign-born, same-sex partners of Americans to request a green card or permanent residency on the basis of their relationship because of the Defense of Marriage Act. This amendment would give gay couples the same rights as straight couples regarding petitioning for legal permanent residence in the U.S.
Steve Ralls, a spokesperson for Immigration Equality, praised Leahy for his amendment.
“ has always been at the forefront of the work to ensure our immigration system treats everyone fairly,” Ralls told the Blade. “If the Supreme Court doesn’t end this injustice, I have no doubt Senator Leahy can, and will. We will do everything we can to help him in that effort.”
The immigration bill cleared a first Senate vote on June 11 82-15. All 15 against it were Republicans.