Democrats Drop the Gay Rights Amendment That Might Have Killed the Immigration Bill

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 21 2013 7:37 PM

Democrats Drop the Gay Rights Amendment That Might Have Killed the Immigration Bill

Once Washington started to realize that immigration reform could happen, it considered the many poison pills that might kill it. Chief among them: An amendment that would allow same-sex couples to sponsor foreign partners for green cards. Republicans in the "Gang of Eight" were constantly asked whether they'd let the amendment in. They wouldn't. "I'll do everything in my power to see that it's not there," said John McCain. Adding in LGBT language would kill the bill.

The debate continued until roughly 7 p.m. tonight, when, during the Senate Judiciary Committee's mark-up of the bill, Chairman Pat Leahy was asked to let the amendment fall. Sen. Dick Durbin, the party's whip and a key member of the Gang, had been asked about the amendment earlier and stayed circumspect. "I'm gonna leave this to Sen. Leahy," he'd said. "In a few hours, you'll know what he's gonna do."

Advertisement

A few hours passed, and Leahy was still talking up his amendment, as much as he could. Durbin announced that it "wasn't the time" to attach the amendment. Sen. Al Franken chimed in, comparing the need to kill the amendment to "Hobson's choice," but raising the specter of the whole bill collapsing.

That was the death knell. "With a heavy heart," Leahy let the amendment go.

"I want people who are at home listening to this debate understand that this debate isn't over," said Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. "It's happening in every state in our country."

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?

Science

“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.