Last night, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a sweeping immigration reform bill in a bipartisan vote of 13 to 5. The bill, drafted by the so-called "Gang of Eight," includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million people currently in the United States who do not have legal status. It also includes measures to strengthen boarder security, and new programs for highly skilled workers.
President Obama issued a statement supporting the advancement, saying the bill was "largely consistent with the principles of commonsense reform I have proposed and meets the challenge of fixing our broken immigration system." He continued, "None of the committee members got everything they wanted, and neither did I, but in the end, we all owe it to the American people to get the best possible result over the finish line. I encourage the full Senate to bring this bipartisan bill to the floor at the at the earliest possible opportunity and remain hopeful that the amendment process will lead to further improvements."
Despite wide support, many LGBT advocacy groups are outraged after an amendment to extend protections to same-sex couples was dropped by Democrats. The amendment would give same-sex partners the ability to sponsor their significant other for citizenship, however conservative members of the Committee and the Gang of Eight threatened to pull their support for the bill if the amendment was included. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told the committee "So, with a heavy heart, and as a result of my conclusion that Republicans will kill this vital legislation if this anti-discrimination amendment is added, I will withhold calling for a vote on it at this time. But I will continue to fight for equality."
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement "It is deplorable that a small number of Senators have been able to stand in the way of progress for lesbian and gay couples torn apart by discriminatory laws. We are extremely disappointed that our allies did not put their anti-LGBT colleagues on the spot and force a vote on the measure that remains popular with the American people."
Media Resources: New York Daily News 5/22/2013; Washington Post 5/22/2013; ABC News 5/21/2013; Associated Press 5/21/2013
12/1/2015 Candlelight Vigil Calls for an End to Anti-Abortion Terrorism - Last night, dozens of activists gathered outside the Supreme Court for a candlelight vigil calling for an end to anti-abortion terrorism.
The vigil, hosted by Reproaction, included representatives from NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood, the Feminist Majority Foundation, GetEQUAL, the National Council of Jewish Women, and others.
Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Mike Quigley (IL) joined the crowd and spoke of the need for abortion access and an end to the dangerous anti-choice rhetoric. . . .