June 05, 2009
It's put up time for the Dems
Posted by: Andoni
The Democratic Party (and President Obama) made some substantial commitments to the gay community during the past election campaign. They promised that if they gained control of government, LGBT Americans would be treated as equals under the law and that our families would be valued and protected.
We soon will have a good test to see if they really meant what they said or not.
Yesterday, Rep. Michael Honda (D- CA) introduced an immigration bill called the Reuniting Families Act (RFA), which for the first time in history includes an LGBT provision as part of an omnibus bill. The legislation would allow gay Americans to sponsor their foreign born partner for residency, just as a straight American citizens currently can do. Rep. Honda did not forget the Democrats' promises, so in this new era of Democratic control, he included LGBT families in his immigration reform bill. The question now is, does the rest of the Democratic Congress also believe what they promised?
Honda's bill is brand new and simply includes gay families in his overall plan to revise the immigration system. Republicans will do their best to strip gays out of this bill. However, the Dems control the House by a substantial margin and after Al Franken is sworn in, they will have a filibuster proof margin in the Senate. So, they will have the power to stop Republican efforts to strip gays out of this bill. Will they use it?
Keeping a provision in a bill is a much different thing than passing a bill from scratch such as they have to do with ENDA or the repeal of DADT. So I can understand the difficulty they are having getting these two moving. And furthermore Honda's bill is an easier vote because it doesn't deal only with gay issues and cannot be labeled a "gay" bill. The gay provision is only a very minor part of the overall bill. If the Republicans offer an amendment to strip gays from the bill, queasy Dems need only take a walk for the amendment vote, but vote yes on the final bill.
In my mind this is going to be a very telling test for the Dems. They have the power to protect us, to prevent us from being stripped out of the bill. There is no acceptable excuse if they don't.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
The comments to this entry are closed.