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    June 05, 2009

    It's put up time for the Dems

    Posted by: Andoni

    Line in the sand

    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.



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    1. InExile on Jun 5, 2009 8:57:23 AM:

      I read the Senate version of this bill does not include the provisions in UAFA. Also Catholics and the RR are calling for the bill to be stripped of UAFA. I predict the Dems will let it be stripped.

    1. CJ on Jun 5, 2009 9:01:16 AM:

      Sorry to say...but I concur. The reasons for not letting UAFA in will be as ridiculous as any we've heard, but nonetheless, it won't get in.

    1. dimitri on Jun 5, 2009 2:03:28 PM:

      It was a welcoming gesture by Rep. Honda to include us in his immigration reform legislation, it's too bad Sen. Menendez caved to Catholic pressures in the Senate. Regardless, it is highly unlikely that either bill will go anywhere. Immigration has become such a highly contested issue that only a CIR bill, that is pushed by the president, has a shot at passing. The big question is whether the UAFA will be included in the CIR. Like Andoni said, it will be important to maintain a strong immigration coalition. So, thanks to Rep. Honda for being a team player. As for Sen. Menendez, he apparently is a weak link. CIR talks haven't even official begun and he is throwing people (i.e. the gays) under the bus.

    1. Lin McDevitt-Pugh on Jun 7, 2009 11:57:50 AM:

      There is no need for the Dems to get queasy: they are in a majority in both houses and Obama wants to make change happen. Of course the religious right is having a fit - they are losing ground. We will get into CIR.

    1. SeaMex on Jun 7, 2009 4:21:13 PM:

      Any CIR that does not include UAFA is unacceptable. The thought that they would grant citizenship to non Americans who broke the law to get here before allowing me to claim my partner of 5 years who has never violated his visa is insane. The President has stated that he supports UAFA now he needs to put some pressure on Congress to make sure it is part of CIR. For those who think it will be stripped out, make the calls and send email and letters to your Representatives. Now is the time when we have to work even harder.
      UAFA will happen but we need to make sure there is separation of church and state.

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