Immigration Reform 2013: Why Does the New Bill Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples?


This week, a bill to comprehensively regulate immigration is being introduced in the Senate. The bill has been criticized on all sides, and in particular it does not recognize same-sex partners of legal immigrants, whereas heterosexual marriages are given what the 14th Amendment terms "full faith and credit."

President Obama has suggested that any push to include same-sex partner recognition could derail the bill entirely, a suggestion that Republicans have seconded. This bill includes provisions for visas for low-income undocumented workers, allowing them to work in the U.S. as legal residents provided they pay a fine of $500 and all back taxes, and have not committed crimes while here. Oh, and of course they must be heterosexual — or at least not partnered homosexuals.

This legislation would have a huge impact on the rights of workers who are currently here illegally, and would presumably generate a large amount of tax revenue, not to mention an increase in the number of people eligible to vote — new voters who would be grateful to the senators and congressmen who helped them (mostly Democrats). Perhaps this does lend some credence to the allegation of "legacy shopping" made against the president by Senator John McCain.

McCain might be feeling sour grapes, as he is not in a position to legacy shop for his own presidency. But to be fair, let’s look at that allegation. It has been said that the Republicans are determined to quash not only any immigration legislation, but also any legislation proposed by Democrats and backed full-throatedly by the president. 

And that seems to be true. Recently, they have defeated gun-control measures, and pressed for increasingly disastrous budget sequestration. It seems that they may have forgotten what they are supposed to be doing in the legislative branch. It seems that the focus on both thwarting the president and on legislating morality gets in the way of looking out for the good of the American people. But the reason question for me is, Why can’t Republicans stop thinking about sex? What is it about the fact that same-sex couples want to get married and be happy and have legally sanctioned sex lives that aggravates the republican legislators so very much? Aren’t they Americans too (or in the case of the immigration bill, potential Americans)? And what business is it what anyone does in their own bedrooms? With more states each day passing marriage recognition laws, the best option for the Republican senators and congressmen at this point might be to get over it.