Leahy proposes protections for same-sex couples in immigration bill

The Democratic senator introduced amendments to extend legal protections to gay couples if one is foreign born

By Jillian Rayfield

Published May 8, 2013 1:03PM (EDT)

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has proposed two amendments to the Senate's immigration reform legislation that would extend legal protections to same-sex couples, in which one of the partners is foreign born.

Politico reports:

One amendment mirrors legislation Leahy introduced earlier this year with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and would allow gay U.S. citizens to sponsor their “permanent partners” for green cards. The second amendment is narrower, and would limit the ability to apply for green cards to gay couples who are legally married in the United States. Currently, 11 states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex unions, including Delaware, where it was enacted Tuesday.

“For immigration reform to be truly comprehensive, it must include protections for all families,” said Leahy in a statement. “We must end the discrimination that gay and lesbian families face in our immigration law.”

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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Gay Rights Immigration Patrick J. Leahy Same-sex Marriage Vermont