By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com May 14 2013 3:31 PM ET
Three Republican U.S. senators who are part of the "Gang of Eight" have expressed concern over any form of the proposed immigration reform bill that may contain provisions to protect LGBT people.
The senators' proposed immigration reform bill does not currently include provisions to help Americans sponsor their foreign-born same-sex partners to become citizens, just as heterosexuals can do with their spouses. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont introduced amendments to the bill last week to broaden the immigration reform bill to include some provisions for same-sex couples.
"If the [Senate] Judiciary Committee tries to redefine marriage in the immigration bill they will lose me and many others," South Carolina senatro Lindsey Graham said in a tweet Monday.
In January, Sen. John McCain said including gay rights in the immigration debate would be a "red flag" that will interfere with bipartisan support for reforms.
"Well, it's something that is frankly not of paramount importance at this time," he said at the time. "We'll have to look at it, we'll have to gauge how the majority of Congress feels. But that to me is a red flag that we will address in time."
Most recently, McCain said he would do everything in his power to see that LGBT provisions are not in the bill, according to Politico.
Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has also said he would oppose LGBT protections in an immigration reform bill, according to The Huffington Post.
"This immigration bill is difficult enough as it is," Rubio said on a conservative radio show in April. "If that issue is injected into this bill, this bill will fail. It will not have support. It will not have my support."
In the House, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York has been a sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act for several congressional sessions. The UAFA would extend immigration rights to same-sex couples and their families. Nadler said in January that it would be "madness" for immigration reform not to include protections for same-sex couples.
Earlier this month, President Obama reiterated previous statements that he would like to for the immigration reform bill to include a provision to allow Americans to sponsor immigrant same-sex partners for legal status.