By Jennifer Martinez - 05/21/13 11:40 PM EDT
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) withdrew a controversial amendment to the immigration bill on Tuesday that would allow American citizens in same-sex marriages to sponsor green cards for their foreign partners.
“I take the Republican sponsors of this important legislation at their word that they will abandon their own efforts if discrimination is removed from our immigration system,” Leahy said. “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. But I will continue to fight for equality.”
Other Democrats on the committee, including Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), gave impassioned speeches in favor of Leahy's amendment but ultimately said they didn't want to hurt the immigration bill's chance of passing the Senate.