Leahy keeps secret his plan for LGBT amendments

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One proposal, based on the Uniting American Families Act, would allow American citizens in committed same-sex relationships to sponsor foreign partners for green cards.

Another proposal would exempt immigration law from the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

Senate aides say Leahy could offer his amendments for a vote before the committee reports out comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

“I don’t legislate by press conference, unlike a lot of people. I legislate in the committee room and we’re doing things in the committee room, let’s see what happens,” he said.

Leahy downplayed a report by the Associated Press that the White House has pressed him not to offer the amendments, which are top priorities for gay-rights advocates.

“Who in the White House said that? I never discuss conversations I have with the president, I have a lot of conversations, and I doubt if he would,” he said.

Republican members of the Gang of Eight say Leahy’s amendment could derail immigration reform.

“All I’m telling you is if it gets on the bill, it’s not going to pass. It’s going to shatter the coalition that supports the bill,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

A senior Democratic aide said Leahy could report the immigration bill out of the committee as early as Tuesday night.

“Sen. Leahy has done a masterful job of doing the bill. He started with 300 amendments. They've held 24 days of hearings. He's worked through, I think he told me this morning, 120 amendments. They're gonna finish it tonight,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Tuesday afternoon.