Last week’s historic advancing of a landmark immigration reform bill created a “tit for tat” moment among minority and gay allies when gay rights piggyback amendment was put on the backburner in the interest of securing support and eventual passage of the overhaul measure.
And the “ask” isn’t too much, considering…
Each time gay marriage or gay rights issues come up for debate in the courts, many Hispanic and African Americans changed their avatars to a pink and red version of the logo of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group, the Human Rights Campaign. The NAACP and La Raza adopted organization resolutions formally approving gay marriage after a recent federal court overruled the Defense of Marriage Act which denied gay couples equal federal benefits as heterosexual couples. A Huffington Post/NBC News poll found that 60% of Hispanic Americans surveyed agree gays should be allowed to marry. Last May, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that people of color are more likely to support gay marriage than whites.
It’s hard to recall times in history when gay-rights advocates openly rallied with a similar amount of fervor causes that would benefit these minority groups solely.
Rather, there is actually a fractured history with African Americans, with some not appreciating gays equating their struggles for equality with those Blacks faced historically and still do today.
Then we come to last week. While the country was focused on the Oklahoma Tornado and other catastrophic incidents in the world, a Senate judiciary panel quietly passed the massive immigration overhaul legislation presented by 8 senators led by Florida’s Marco Rubio. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
Noticeably absent from the version passed to the full Senate to consider is the provision that would afford same-sex couples rights granted to hetero married couples in the bill.
The amendment’s sponsor Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) pulled it last minute out of concern that it would be a poison pill and lessen the number of Republicans to favor the overall measure once it reached the House of Representatives later.
So alas, there created a fragile friction among allies: Hispanic and Immigrant advocates and Gay Rights Advocates.
There is talk of president Obama inserting rights after the bill passed via Executive actions, similar to how he deferred deportations of young children of undocumented people in 2012.
Perhaps that would be a solution those pushing the gay rights agenda can deal with, but until then or some other compromise is reached, they owe immigration reform proponents one.
Sit back, chill and don’t mess it up.