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LGBT activists in Doral protest U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio after gay couples left out of immigration plan

BY ALFONSO CHARDY and STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Gay activists gathered Wednesday in front of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s Doral office to protest the Senate Judiciary Committee’s failure to include undocumented gay foreign nationals in a bipartisan immigration reform bill the panel approved late Tuesday.

While the number of protesters at the corner of Northwest 87th Avenue and 36th Street was relatively small, about 30, their action presaged potential trouble for the controversial bill that would legalize more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

The 13-5 vote in the committee almost didn’t happen after some Republican senators indicated they might withdraw support for the bill if Democrats pressed their bid to attach the gay amendment to the proposal.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., one of the Republicans who wrote the bill, said the coalition that assembled the bill would fall apart if same-sex couples were included.

“It would certainly mean that this bill would not move forward,” Flake told the panel Tuesday.

While Democrats ultimately caved in and withdrew the amendment, the action angered gay activists across the nation. They vowed to mount a national lobbying campaign to pressure politicians to add a gay immigration clause when the bill comes up for debate on the Senate floor after the Memorial Day recess.

Whether the tug-of-war might kill the immigration reform bill remains to be seen. But what happened Tuesday night in the Senate Judiciary Committee may indicate that gay immigration has emerged as a potentially pivotal issue for the fate of the bill and a harbinger of future epic battles in Congress over whether lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrants deserve recognition as a separate class.

Undocumented LGBT immigrants, as individuals, would receive legal status like any other foreign national without papers if the bill becomes law.

But what gay activists want is an amendment that would compel federal immigration authorities to allow U.S. citizens and legal residents who are gay to file petitions for their undocumented partners so they can get green cards.

As currently written, the bill does not change immigration law that gives petition power only to married heterosexual couples.

“I myself am gay and I’m in a relationship with someone who is about to become a U.S. citizen and he can’t petition for me,” said Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, a 27-year-old immigrant from Brazil who arrived in the U.S. when he was 14.

Sousa-Rodriguez was one of the organizers of Wednesday’s protest in front of Rubio’s office. Rubio is one of the Republican senators in the so-called Gang of Eight who drafted the immigration reform bill approved late Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos said Wednesday that adding a gay-partners component to the bill would likely kill it.

"Senator Rubio and others have noted the reality here," Burgos said.  "Approving this immigration reform legislation into law will be difficult enough as it is and, if this measure is adopted, it will virtually guarantee that the bill won't pass and that the coalition that helped put it together will fall apart."

The Rubio protest was organized by several immigration and gay activist groups including GetEQUAL, a national organization that advocates for the full equality of LGBT people.

The bill would grant provisional legal status to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country prior to Dec. 31, 2011, and have no serious criminal records. Then they have to wait 10 years to apply for green cards after paying fees, penalties and unpaid taxes.

Though the bill survived several attempts in the committee to reshape it, it almost got derailed Tuesday night when the gay issue arose.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told the committee late Tuesday that he had decided to withdrew the gay immigration amendment to prevent the collapse of the bill.

While Democrats reluctantly withdrew the amendment, they also believe that the issue will become moot if the Supreme Court in June throws out a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that prohibits the U.S. government from granting federal benefits to married same-sex couples.

Comments

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Rubio is running for "higher office" in 2016, rather than working for his constituents.

If you pass any laws for the LGBT,we might as well legalize thieves, there are a lot more thieves than LGBT's in the world and they probably want to protect their rights to steal. When does a goverment plan to stop all immoralities?. This is not only approving merriage/family issues. This is giving them all the same rights the straight world have. How can you then teach your kids? Now pregnant women go to the doctor to find out if they are havin a boy or a girl. Now when a woman gets pregnant she will want to find out if it is a boy, girl, gay or lesbian and....if they could find out the latter, how many abortions will they be as the result?

Where was SAVE DADE? Why didn't they support this protest? Oh, I forgot, there was no money in it for their President CJ Ortuniz. Please bring Jorge Mursuli back to SAVE! Those were the golden days of this now ineffective organization.

BILL MAY HAVE PASSED SENATE MARK-UP AND MAY PASS THE WHOLE SENATE, BUT THEN THEY HAVE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO CONTEND WITH? THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL FIGHT IT TO THE END?

IT’S NOT OVER TILL ITS OVER?

No illegal alien need to be jumping up and down, because the bill has not reached the house yet. There is a lot of doubt that the Senate bill (S.477) will pass, simply because the overconfident Democrats, plus a few Republicans rejected a large and major proportion of the amendments? The “TRIGGERS” which was a major part of the amendments as an intricate extent ion of the bill fell on deaf ears and rejected. All of the PEOPLE’S reputable Senator as Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) amendments, with the similar voice of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that they forecast it will be killed in the House. The law may have been approved, but now it must pass public scrutiny, especially when they realize they are the ones paying for all these criminal aliens, seeking lawful status. THERE ARE MANY HURDLES FOR POLITICIANS TO JUMP BEFORE THE DRAFT BECOMES LAW, UNLESS CORRUPTION ENTERS INTO THE PASSAGE OF THE BILL. THEY ARE BEING INTENSELY UNDER SCRUTINY AND IF THEY MAKE THE WRONG MOVE, WILL BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE, IN THE PRIMARIES AND FUTURE ELECTIONS. THE MEMORY OF THE PEOPLE WILL NOT BE DENIED.

THERE IS NO REAL SAFEGUARD FOR AMERICANS, AGAINST RISING TAXES.

Already uproar has sprung up, as it can be viewed in the thousands of commentaries, letters and other means of written communication in both the Liberal and Conservative press. The American people have watched on C-Span this judiciary immigration mark-up committee and are extremely irate with the disappointment because they have no voice in this important matter. Now they are ready to verbally kill the Senators and House Representatives who better find shelter. The word is out and I guarantee the faxes and phone calls are going to ricochet of the walls of their offices, while more Stewart advocates will appear at their office doors.

The pro-sovereignty, less-immigration groups are the avenue for the outrage, where citizens and even legal residents can contact the politicians that have compromised the foundations of our laws, as drafted in the U.S. Constitution. The faxes are open at NumbersUSA, the Tea Party and other E-organizations, that are mobilizing new member-activists. Around the country there is a fighting stance as the Tea Party realizes they were targeted by the IRS, because of their ideology. If they haven’t already discovered that there is a toll-free-- 1-888-978-3094-- they can use to contact their U.S. Senator and the House Reps.

1. The reintroduction of the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which was to be complete the 700 mile double layered fencing was voted down.

2. Stopping the gross IRS incompetence of illegal alien parents fraudulently collecting child tax credits on a massive scale. The IRS agency neglecting to prosecute foreign nationals, who by design are stealing taxpayer dollars of upwards of 7 billion a year, was also rejected. A low-income family (illegal aliens) with two kids can receive up to $5,372 in tax credit, even exceeding the amount they pay in taxes, even if they pay NOTHING.

3. Business owners since the 1986 thought they were above the law and hired illegal aliens with great financial rewards. Even though E-Verify for employers to detect unauthorized labor, it is not going to be fully operation nationwide for another 18 months.

4. For worse than anything else supplied in the reform bill, is illegal aliens can still collect welfare and public entitlements.

5. The Democrats also defeated a measure by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley that would have barred members of street gangs from the proposed amnesty.

6. Democrats defeated a Sessions amendment that would have given enforcement agencies some of the federal money given to so-called “sanctuary cities”

IN THIS IMMIGRATION REFORM LAW ONLY ILLEGAL ALIENS GAIN SPECIAL BENEFITS AND BUSINESS OWNERS. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL HAVE NO CHOICE, BUT TO PAY FOR THE NEWLY RECOGNIZED LAWFUL RESIDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES. THIS IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG OF AMENDMENTS REJECTED, THAT THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION WARNED US ABOUT. THIS IS FORTHCOMING GIGANTIC DILEMMA IN THE FORM OF TAXES FROM THE GANG OF EIGHT AND OTHER SENATORS.

Who is that sub-normal being Enrique? OMG he should in be jail ... for his stupidity! I've heard many arguments against the GLBT community, but what this guy is presenting??? Beats all other morons!

I attended the rally this afternoon in Doral. I am the U.S.-born child of legal Cuban and Ecuadorean immigrants. I was at the rally, not for gay immigration rights, but for immigration rights to apply equally to ALL U.S. citizens. Federal law governs us all equally and federal law should also provide the same opportunities equally to ALL U.S. citizens, be it for immigration, or voting or taxation. The congressional committee yesterday basically said that the rights of 11 million LGBT US citizens would be given up, so that the rights of 11 million immigrants in question would not be sacrificed. The rights of US citizens should NEVER be negotiated, but that's just what they did. If the select few who are elected to govern decide to pick and choose which American is and isn't worthy to be covered by U.S. law-- and today I was on the losing side of that-- then there is not one of us who can sleep easy or who is safe from their rights being sold in political negotiations. This has a much greater impact than solely gay rights. This is the opportunity for Americans to stand up for one another and move this country forward, together.

Enrique you are a classic example of what happens when we defund education. Ignorance prevails without it as you have shown with your illogical conflation of issues mixed in with conjecture and diatribe. You need to keep one original coherent thought in mind when you write because that mess you wrote is all over the map.

The gay agenda is always looking for a crack to push their agenda. get over it guys, were not homophobic, we just dont like queers; just like some people dont like lima beans. its not a fear, its a blatant dislike.

The Jewish agenda is always looking for a crack to push their agenda. Get over it guys, were not antisemetic, we just don't like Jews. Just like some people don't like lima beans. Its not a fear, it's just blatant dislike. Mr. Lipschiltz, you are truly an idiot! How does it feel to be put in the same category?

Marco Rubio and Mario Diaz-Balart,leana Ros-Lehtinen. ted cruz/other cubans have credibility on immigration issues when they advocates that immigrants from other countries are treated the same as those from their homeland – Cuba. So either grant automatic legal status as soon as they set foot on American soil, or make Cubans go through the same process as any other immigrant. Until then, just another hypocrite.

The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which "the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one's skin or color or race" are minor indeed. Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence

Hannah Arendt

What do gays have to do with immigration? just shut up

Putting a clause giving LGBT individuals equal rights will probably doom passage of the immigration reform bill. It is simply smart politics to leave it out. If the Supreme Court finds DOMA unconstitutional, the result to the LGBT community could very well be the same. Immigration Reform is very fragile...not everyone will be happy with the result but something needs to be done.

Angel, try and give me an education why anybody including yourself thinks it is not immoral to be LBGT? and why thieves should be treated any different....I have more education in my pinky nail than what you could ever have in your entire body!!!!! By the way, find out how many mothers really want a gay or lesbian while they are pregnant!

Enrique, I'd rather have a gay child than an idiot such as yourself.

Anti-racists" say there's a RACE problem. They say it'll be solved when non-Whites pour into ALL & ONLY White nations and "assimilate" to get a brown mixture.

They say only White nations have this RACE problem; they say non-White nations are fine.

If I object to my own genocide these "anti-racists" say I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

They say they're anti-racist. What they are is anti-White.

Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White.

Sooner or later, the terrorists are gonna realize
that you don't need an atomic bomb or a pressure
cooker bomb to bring America to a screeching halt.
A flat tire, at the right time and the right place
on I 10, the 405 and a couple of other major arteries
leading into San Diego and LA, will pretty much
bring all of California to a complete stop. in fact,
it wouldn't take much more than six or seven junkers
to break down at a given time on a given day to bring
any, hell, Every major city in the U.S. to a complete
stand still. You can hit any of a thousand bridges in
the right spot with a semi, and send it crashing into
a river. Send enough patients to an emergency room
and you can shut down any hospital in America. Forget
giving your terrorist a box knife, a running alarm
clock in ten passengers' carryons, and the backup at
security, alone, can shut down an airport.

We can't educate our children, we can't repair our
highways, or put storm shelters in schools, hell,
we're laying off air traffic controllers because we
can't pay the bills on time, And the major topic in
Washington is: How do we make it Easier for More
people to get into the country. The theory is, that,
since there ain't Nobody, already here, who can
solve these problems, at least One of the next
300,000,000 immigrants, will.

You can cure ignorance with education, but stupid
goes straight to the bone, and Democrats is bone deep
in stupid. The atomic bomb ain't going to destroy
America, Terrorism ain't going to destroy America, but
dumbass Democrat stupidity, will. The only discussion
we should be having about immigration, is how to stop it.

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