Steve King: Gay Rights Immigration Amendment a ‘Poison Pill’

Image: Steve King: Gay Rights Immigration Amendment a ‘Poison Pill’

Thursday, 09 May 2013 01:55 PM

By David Yonkman, Washington Correspondent

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A gay-rights amendment to the Senate’s immigration bill would be a "poison pill" for the legislation should it reach the House, a key Republican tells Newsmax.

The amendment would allow U.S. citizens who are in "long-term committed relationships" to sponsor their foreign partners for green cards, allowing them to live and work legally in the United States.

"How do you do that?" asked Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, a member of the House Judiciary Committee. "If you are unlawfully present in the United States, we’re going to give you specially protected status for sexual orientation and gender identity?"

He said that it could change the vote for members who opposed gay marriage but have flexibility on border security and immigration reform in general.

"It might turn out to be a poison pill for some of the members who may otherwise see that there is merit in this bill," King said.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy proposed the gay-marriage amendment on Tuesday. It is one of more one of more than 100 which has been offered during the Thursday mark-up of the 844-page bill.

Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — a member of a bipartisan group of eight senators who wrote the bill — said that the amendment could prevent the legislation from getting out of committee.

"It'll kill the bill," Rubio said in a recent interview. "There is a coalition of groups who are supporting immigration reform who will not support it if that's in there."

The bill under consideration is designed to provide a path to legal status and ultimately to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented foreigners now in the United States, and to tighten border security to stem the flow of illegal immigrants in the future.

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