Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he would walk away from pushing a bipartisan immigration reform bill if a provision covering same-sex couples is added.
Two days earlier, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced an amendment that would provide the same protections to immigrants in same-sex married couples as heterosexual couples. The amendment would allow partners of immigrants living in the country illegally to get a green card under new provisions of the immigration bill. The text of the amendment reads, "any marriage entered into full compliance with the laws of the State or foreign country within which such marriage was performed."
Both the amendment and Rubio's comments follow the Senate's approval of a motion to proceed on the bill.
In response to Rubio's comments, a Leahy aide said that the senator "has filed the legislation and is committed to keep fighting for equality. He has not made a decision yet on whether to bring it up for a vote."
"I’d also note, again on background, that Sen. Leahy did not prevent any member from offering an amendment in Committee and has worked to maintain an fair and transparent process that involves all senators," the aide added.
Leahy first introduced the amendment when the Senate Judiciary Committee was doing a markup of the immigration bill, but he withdrew it because of pressure from Republicans who said the amendment would endanger the entire bill's chances.
In announcing his bill, Leahy said the debate over same-sex marriage should continue as the Senate moves forward with immigration reform.
"Seeking equal protection under our laws for the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] community is the right thing to do," Leahy said. "I withheld my anti-discrimination amendment during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup. As the entire Senate turns to debate the immigration bill, the fight for equality must go on."
-This report was updated at 2:43 p.m.