The two Democratic members of a bipartisan Senate immigration group who sit on the Judiciary Committee are refusing to say whether they’d vote to add protections for same-sex couples to the measure.
“I’m not going to get into speculatives,” Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said today when asked whether he’d vote for an amendment proposed by the panel’s chairman, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy.
Leahy wants to add a provision requiring that foreign nationals married to a same-sex U.S. citizen be treated equally to those married to a citizen of the opposite sex. Republicans in the eight-member Senate group, opposing the measure, say it would cause them to pull their support for the bill.
“Our four Republican colleagues feel very strongly, those in the Gang of Eight, that if this is in the bill, they would not be able to support it,” Schumer said. “Our four Democratic colleagues, including myself, believe that this is not just another issue, but an issue of discrimination. So how we resolve this remains to be seen.”
Schumer said he “would like very much to see” Leahy’s provision added to the bill, “but we have to have a bill that has support.”
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the other Democratic member of the Senate group who sits on the Judiciary panel, similarly would not say earlier this week if he would back the Leahy amendment if it comes to a vote in the committee, which Democrats control by a two-seat margin.
Schumer today said supporters of Leahy’s amendment who don’t want to sink the overall immigration bill face a “conundrum.”
“This one is something I worry about all the time,” he said. “I’m a good sleeper, but I wake up in the morning thinking of these things.”