WASHINGTON — The nation's largest LGBT rights organization Tuesday called Republican resistance to including same-sex marriage protections in immigration reform legislation "homophobia," accusing GOP senators of "throwing same-sex couples under the bus" out of political expediency.
"There is a jarring disconnect between the American public and these senators when it comes to issues of LGBT equality. It's pretty dated to consider LGBT equality as a controversial, hot-button issue like these senators are portraying it to be," the Human Rights Campaign said Tuesday in a statement. "These senators are towing a tired line that no longer represents mainstream opinion, and they're throwing same-sex couples under the bus in the process."
With the Senate set to take up a sweeping comprehensive immigration reform bill this week, Republicans have increasingly warned that an expected push by Democrats to include provisions providing visas for foreign husbands and wives in a same-sex marriage will kill the bill.
"There's already resistance to the bill as it's currently structured. And to bring an issue like that on to it, would not just ensure the bill doesn't pass, the votes wouldn't be there in the Senate and certainly not in the House, but it would facture a coalition from all kinds of groups like evangelicals and the Catholic Church and others," said Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the Republican members of the Gang of Eight that drafted the compromise legislation.
"I respect peoples' views on this issue, I understand this is an issue that's moving across the country and different states are dealing with it differently. I understand all that, I do. But I just think if it's brought into this bill it will ensure that it fails," Rubio added.
But HRC made clear in its statement that no amount of sympathy will placate activists if Republicans succeed in keeping the language out of the bill.
"If they end up doing that, they should just own it and call it what it is: homophobia. Labeling the inclusion of bi-national couples in the immigration bill as toxic is nothing more than a tired, insulting ruse designed to distract attention from their own failure to represent all Americans," the group said.
John Stanton is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New Orleans. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.
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