Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how’d you like the immigration bill?

And a happy Harvey Milk Day to you too, Senators.  As predicted, Democrats in the Senate yesterday joined their Republican colleagues in a little bit of legislative gay-bashing directed at the so-called “comprehensive” immigration reform bill, that’s looking less and less comprehensive by the hour.

Democratic Senators, including Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Al Franken (D-MN), dutifully lined up and spoke out about how much they cared about gay rights, but they just had to throw gays under the bus, and nix (yet again) an attempt to include our immigration concerns in the “comprehensive” bill, lest the Republicans get angry.

And, as we know all too well,  Democrats don’t like fighting for what they believe in if it risks making Republicans angry.

It was health care reform all over again

Chuck Schumer

Chuck Schumer

All sarcasm aside, there was a major sense of deja vu watching Democrats explain to us why they simply couldn’t stand up to Republican hostage-takers who threatened to kill the immigration bill if the gay-focused provision – granting immigration rights to foreign-national partners of gay-Americans – was included.  It sounded an awfully lot like the arguments we heard about the public option during health care reform.

As you recall, during health care reform (and the stimulus) we were constantly told that Republicans, and conservative Dems, were opposed to the public option, so there was no point in trying to push for it.  But the logical fallacy the Democrats faced was that we’d never know how strong the GOP truly opposed the public option, something that polled at 70% favorability, if we didn’t at least try to fight for it.  You’d be amazed at the magic a little fight can bring to the table.

And the contrary is also true.  If you don’t fight at all, if you admit right out of the gate that you’re afraid of the other guy’s threat, then the other guy is going to dig in, whether he’s bluffing or not, because you’ve pretty much already signalled that you will eventually cave to his demands.

And, like clockwork, Democrats did cave, mightily.

Democrats bailed on gays from the beginning

Dick Durbin

Dick Durbin

From the beginning, Democrats refused to add the gay provision to the legislation, telling us we could get it added with an amendment in committee.  Many of us didn’t believe that, and when the time came, Democrats caved and we didn’t get our amendment in committee.  And now we’re being told that we can get the amendment on the Senate floor.  Yeah, whatever.  The time to include gays in the comprehensive bill was when the bill was drafted, not by amendment.  We’re not getting in there now, ever.

Who’s to blame?  Lots of people.

Surely the GOP, for starters, and especially Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who, for whatever reason, seems desperately interested in convincing primary voters in his state that he’s really really really anti-gay, and I mean really. (A lot of us think the Lady Graham doth protest too much.)

But it’s not just the Republicans’ fault.  If you try to shoot me, and someone else has the chance to quite possibly save me, but they don’t because they either don’t terribly like me, or they’re simply big chickens, I’m going to end up kind of ticked at both the guy who killed me and the guy who could have saved my life were he a better person.

And certainly our Bad Samaritans include Senate Democrats (Schumer, Feinstein, Durbin and Franken) and the President, who according to AP signalled today that he wanted the gay amendment killed. No great profiles in courage there.

Progressive and gay groups didn’t help matters either

Dianne Feinstein

Dianne Feinstein

But it also includes progressive groups like CAP, and most of the gay groups (except Immigration Equality), all of whom were awfully quiet about UAFA, the gay immigration provision, being excluded from the bill until the top liberal gay bloggers weighed in (Pam Spaulding and Scott Wooledge come to mind, in addition to my posts, as did several others).  Up until then, our gay groups, along with CAP, were pleased as punch about the immigration bill because, they claimed, it was the gayest thing ever, even without UAFA.

Immigration reform is the GAYEST BILL EVER (or not)

Now, you’d think not including the gay community’s number one immigration priority in the immigration bill would make gay groups and our allies less than happy.  You’d be wrong.  You see, they explained, because some 3% of the public is supposedly gay (and I’ve never bought that study, but that’s the conventional wisdom nowadays), we can then assume that slightly less than 3% of the immigration bill’s beneficiaries are gay. And if there are 11 million beneficiaries of the immigration bill, then 267,000 of them must be gay – thus making this the GAYEST BILL EVER.

Of course, under that logic, the Bush tax cuts would also be the gayest bill ever as gays are probably 3% of US taxpayers too.  (And National Ice Cream Day would also be the gayest thing ever, since 3% of ice cream manufacturers are likely gay, and thus perhaps it should be renamed National Ice Cream Gay to celebrate our great victory.)

All kidding aside, claiming that any legislation that affects gay people is “gay” legislation effectively makes every piece of legislation “gay.”  Which is a bit ludicrous.

Al Franken

Al Franken

But the impact is far more nefarious than simply watering down the definition of gay.  If the immigration bill can explicitly kick out gay couples from its benefits, but the bill remains the gayest bill ever, then we’re faced with an awful paradox: We could lose the only thing we’re fighting for in a piece of legislation and still that legislation would be our biggest victory ever.  Which creates a situation in which we never have to win again, because our losses will always be our bigest victories simply because some of the people benefiting from the bill will be incidentally gay.

And that I fear was the entire point of coming up with this suspect 267,000 figure in the first place.  It permitted a select number of gay, immigration and progressive groups to paint immigration reform as “gay,” while knowing (and colluding in the fact?) that gays would never get their number one priority in the bill.  But by convincing the gay community that “267,000 gays” would benefit from the immigration bill regardless, they hoped to confuse the gay community into accepting defeat as victory, and using our well-known political power, and money, to help pass a bill that basically slapped us in the face.

And what happened during the Senate committee mark-up yesterday?  Durbin and Franken both used the 267,000 figure to justify dropping UAFA.  Political homophobia became homophilia, they were bashing us because they loved us.


Lindsey Graham

One other interesting point that I’d noted previously.  The group that came up with the magical 267,000 figure gets funding from the Haas Foundation.  And the Haas Foundation also funds most of the top gay and progressive groups, specifically on immigration advocacy – the Haas Foundation is a big supporter of the immigration bill.  And at the same time, for some reason, those gay and progressive groups didn’t seem to do nearly enough to push for UAFA’s inclusion in this legislation (while other Democrats were publicly worrying about whether the gays would kill immigration reform).  And finally, while not doing enough to push UAFA, those same groups kept talking about how we shouldn’t worry, because it’s still the gayest bill ever.  I just find all of that an interesting coincidence.

It’s not about idealism, it’s about not even trying

In the end, this isn’t about idealism.  And it isn’t about “naively” making the best the enemy of the good. It’s about not even trying.

No one is asking Democrats to kill the immigration bill if we can’t get gays included.  We are asking Democrats, and immigration groups, and gay advocacy groups, and CAP to fight like hell for our inclusion and only to cave at the last minute if that’s what’s needed to pass the bill (and not to, by the way, mention any of this publicly).  Instead, we got a lot of press releases, which are nice but useless, and a lot of people speaking publicly about how, gosh, maybe we should boot the gays in order to save the bill, apparently because gays are still sadly expendable in Democratic politics in 2013.

Oh, and we also didn’t get any of that famed angry gay advocacy that we saw with the repeal of DADT.  I also found that interesting.

That is not a recipe for calling the Republicans’ bluff.

The final irony for gay binational couples (where one person is American and the other is a foreign national) is that those couples are basically being punished for obeying the law.  Had gay couples broken the law, and stayed in the US illegally, they’d be covered by the immigration bill.  But because they didn’t break the law, they just got thrown out of the bill that was supposed to help them in the first place.

Gayest bill ever, my ass.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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279 Responses to “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how’d you like the immigration bill?”

  1. dg says:

    Government needs to get out of people’s personal lives period. It is really freakin’ simple. Why do you think they love Lindsey Graham? I would LOVE to see what secrets the NSA has hanging over his head. All these clowns are perfect. Better vote AIPAC or I’ll show the world your boy lover….better shoot down this bill on gay rights or I’ll show the world your other personal gay history.

    It is crazy. I could give a rip what someone’s orientation is. But THEY give a rip what their voters might think….therefore they become perfect puppets for TPTB. This is why the NSA spying issue is such an enormous deal….it is like J Edgar Hoover on steroids. wake up folks.

  2. Lavi Soloway says:

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear; my point is that UAFA which I helped draft in 1999, and that we have fought to pass into law for the past 13 years by building broad Democratic support in the House and Senate, was strategically designed by its specific construction to expire upon the repeal of DOMA (or if SCOTUS struck down Sec 3 of DOMA as unconstitutional). I am referring to a prospective scenario in which UAFA exists as part of the United States Code and DOMA has been struck down. (Obviously, DOMA has not been struck down either, so I’m not sure what the point of this thread is if we cannot discuss anything that is at this moment mooted by present circumstances. We would not be advancing any understanding here if we only talked about those legal frameworks that currently exist and, therefore, are not moot.) The point is that journalists mainly, but some well-meaning activists, have misunderstood or misrepresented UAFA as though it is a provision that offers an avenue to sponsor “partners” for those couples who aren’t married, and that this happens typically by casual, good faith indifference to the language employed to describe the “partner” provision. Were it that simple. UAFA only creates a “partner” provision in a world in which DOMA exists, once DOMA does not exist, the “partner” provision, indeed its very definition, renders UAFA inoperative, or perhaps more accurately, UAFA sunsets. I’m trying to respond and to be helpful based on my 20 years of experience in this work: if UAFA were passed into law today, would expire the moment SCOTUS ruled Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional, or the moment Congress repealed DOMA.

  3. BeccaM says:

    There is no UAFA enacted or signed into law, so your point is moot.

  4. Lavi Soloway says:

    A state statute refusing to recognize same-sex marriage would not result in this scenario. Perhaps more importantly, UAFA cannot survive DOMA. Section 2 Part D of UAFA specifically causes it to self-expire if DOMA Section 3 is struck down by the Supreme Court or repealed by Congress. If DOMA is struck down, marriages would be valid based on the law in the location of solemnization (where the marriage was “performed” or “entered into”) not the state of residence of the couple.

  5. Lavi Soloway says:

    It is not only the way Democrats caved on Tuesday to the untested myth that the bill would have been torpedoed by Republicans over this issue that should concern us; it is also the lack of pro-LGBT advocacy by Democrats on the Judiciary Committee from the time of the bill’s introduction in January. They did not go to the media and talk about our families. Instead, they allowed the GOP to scapegoat us as a community, slandering us by implying that we would kill CIR just to advance our agenda of “gay marriage.” Democrats were AWOL on this issue for four months while the GOP filled the airwaves and headlines with talk of the gay “poison pill” and that is unacceptable. If the amendments were going be rejected or excluded from the bill, at least go down fighting and standing up for us. Hold the GOP accountable for their hate and discrimination. Why not ask the GOP what version of UAFA they would accept? Why not ask them how they propose to keep our families together? Negotiation is not capitulation in my dictionary. There was no attempt to compromise, only surrender to GOP threats and intimidation. Our community has worked on this for 20 years. UAFA has been pending before Congress for 13 years. The work of thousands of binational couples, activists and various gay and non-gay organizations over two decades was undone by our allies in a comparative instant. Of course we support CIR, and of course there are benefits to all future non-immigrants and immigrants in CIR both gay and straight, but that’s hardly the point. I hope our community will rally and demand that Democrats advance the protection and security of our families when the bill reaches the Senate floor. While it is true that the amendments offered by Senator Leahy will be unnecessary if the Supreme Court strikes down Section 3 of DOMA, we won’t know the Supreme Court’s ruling until the end of June and in the meantime we must fight for inclusion in the bill in case DOMA is not struck down.

  6. Lavi Soloway says:

    This is not true. A statute refusing to recognize WOULD NOT accomplish this. This is a common and sadly self-perpetuating misunderstanding about how the Immigration and Nationality Act defines a valid marriage.

  7. Butch1 says:

    He and his administration have certainly thrown many road blocks out in front of our progress whilst all the while claiming they were in our corner. He’s a pathological liar and can look right into the cameras and tell the American seniors he will not touch their Social Security and do everything in his power to gut it if he can. He was for Universal Healthcare while he was assuring the insurance industry not to worry about it ever being in his Affordable Healthcare Bill either. Your guess is as good as the next. Only a witness coming forth with the credible evidence will ever be proof.

  8. Sweetie says:

    Boxer’s FUD about filesharing technologies lost her my support. It was typical “think of the children” fearmongering authoritarian nonsense.

  9. Sweetie says:

    “From Selma to Stonewall” (at the Waldorf Astoria) was followed by the two pro-DOMA briefs, the two pro-DADT briefs, the firing of troops, and the Golinsky stonewalling. What do you think?

  10. Sweetie says:

    The plutocracy party will never allow competition.

  11. Sweetie says:

    A small point.

  12. Whitewitch says:

    Do you really believe Al Franken is a homophobe John. I am deeply disappointed with Franken’s response and expect more from him and now will have to stop contributing to his campaign…darn!

  13. There’s a surprise, Barney “Obama using the Bush pro-DOMA brief is no big deal” Frank disagrees. Someone must be lonely not getting all the attention any more.

  14. Julien Pierre says:

    Becca, all I am saying is that the tech employers certainly would not take a position against gays in the immigration bill. I doubt they were asked. But I’m sure they would be quite happy with a bill that had both the H1-B increase and allowed same-sex couples to sponsor their partners for immigration.

  15. BeccaM says:

    I don’t think they collectively care all that much about gay immigration rights, as long as they can hire cheap H1-B workers. Orrin Hatch certainly made his priorities obvious, and given the tech industries in and around Salt Lake City, I’m actually not terribly surprised that this was his chief demand.

  16. Julien Pierre says:

    Most high tech companies are also fairly supportive of gay rights. It doesn’t add up that gay rights had to be compromised to help these companies. They should be raising a stink about this too.

  17. karmanot says:

    Right with ya. I’m still behind Boxer though—for now.

  18. karmanot says:


  19. Mark_in_MN says:

    Thanks, Emjayay.

  20. Mark_in_MN says:

    FFL posted a link to an article which pointed out that the policy exception had usually applied only to where there was criminalization not merely non-recognition. The article noted that how constitutional amendment without criminality (and since Lawrence there is none) involved might be treated, from not effecting recognition of marriages to seeing it as being blocked for immigration purposes. But, basically, while there is a so-called public policy issue, it has historically been very limited.

  21. Mark_in_MN says:

    Stop imparting feelings and positions I’ve not taken. I want to see no deportations and I would be far from proud to see that happen. And having the UAFA on the books, perfect or not, is hardly an indignity. It would be good. But there is a better solution, marriage equality and federal recognition of those marriages regardless of where the couple lives (which is entirely possible).

  22. Right on! As a man who left his country to stay with his husband – Brasil welcomed us with our 2008 California Marriage Certificate btw – Mrs Feinstein is such a disappointment… just leave people, its good out here.

  23. tiponeill says:

    yea – the Dems just screwed u

  24. Juan Carlos says:

    You know who else votes? U.S. citizen family members of undocumented immigrants, some of us are LGBT FYI

  25. Juan Carlos says:

    Btw among those millions of people who are “currently breaking the law” are also LGBT people, and some of them are married to “law-abiding” gay and lesbian American citizens.

  26. dcinsider says:

    Oh we will definitely let them do this to us over and over. That is the entire purpose of HRC. We are the battered spouse who returns to our husband because he promises he won’t do it again.

    I guess the only difference is that the battered spouse could divorce and marry another guy, but we have the choice of the batterer (Dems), or his brother the murderer (Repubs). if only their were other guys on the dating website, we might be able to get out of this unhealthy relationship.

  27. Bill_Perdue says:

    Barney Frank is a Quisling.

  28. Bill_Perdue says:

    Democrats and others who don’t support equality for the LGBT communities are homophobes. Period. Full Stop.

    Equality is a such a simple,easy to understand demand and those who oppose it are bigots. Bigots are people who commit bigoted acts, like denying our right to equal treatment. There is nothing too difficult about understanding that concept.

    I want to hear you answer karmanot’s question “So, political calculations that exclude the GLTBQ communities are just fine with you?”

  29. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Ain’t that the damn truth!

  30. emjayay says:

    The “small, empty shells” part came close to stooping to their level. Careful….I too am a bit taken aback and disappointed at times at the level of some of the commenting here, regardless of what side of an issue I may be on. Not the first time I’m afraid.

  31. BeccaM says:

    Actually, looks like I was more right than I knew. Y’see, Senator Orrin Hatch had is own “must have” demand for the immigration bill, and Schumer saw no problem at all in giving it to him. Here’s the low-down on the amendment Hatch demanded — and got:

    Schumer, representing the bipartisan group that authored the bill, also negotiated a compromise Tuesday with Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) to relax some restrictions on high-tech companies that seek to hire foreign engineers and computer programmers.

    The legislation already would raise the annual limit of high-tech visas, known as H-1B, from 65,000 to as many as 180,000, but Hatch had lobbied to eliminate other restrictions on U.S. companies seeking to hire engineers and
    programmers from abroad.

    The compromise amendment lifts the requirement that companies first offer tech jobs to Americans for all firms except those that depend on foreigners for more than 15 percent of their workforce and relaxes the formula for determining the annual number of foreign high-tech workers.

    The high-tech amendments are perhaps the most substantial changes to the immigration bill over five days of hearings on dozens of proposed changes.

    Hatch warned he could still drop his support in the full Senate if other concerns aren’t met. “I’ve got to get those or we’ll never pass this bill,” he said.


    Amazing, huh?

  32. emjayay says:

    Name calling, always an effective method of arguementation. In the second grade.

  33. emjayay says:

    Mark, there are of course two sides to this, or two strategies. And I appreciate your reasoned thoughtful arguement even when others tell you what you said and accuse you of whatever. Of course, as we all know Norwegian Bachelor Farmers would never get all hyperbolic or anything.

  34. Butch1 says:

    I’m inclined to think not also.

  35. emjayay says:

    I’m really pissed and I’m not a crocodile. Not as pissed as I was at Clinton folding and allowing DADT, but that’s gone. And of course the military totally went in the toilet…..oh wait.

    A comment on your side stolen from WaPo:
    Until DOMA is overturned, it is moot to discuss gay marriage as a basis of immigration. To be very clear, there is NO WAY, the Republicans were going to let any immigration reform pass with the Leahy Amendment attached. Their threats at times are idle but the Republicans are poised for an epic battle on this front and it would have killed any immigration reform. Try to remember that immigration reform is not only about reform for those illegally entered or illegally present due to overstay. It is not an us and them argument. I work in an immigration law office. We have met with many gay and lesbian foreign nationals who have either entered illegally or vastly overstayed a visa. Proposed Senate immigration reform will allow them to achieve legal presence and then permanent residency and citizenship. There are many LGBT that will be assisted by reform. However, until DOMA goes the way of the DoDo, there will be no recognition of gay marriage at the federal level including within the immigration system. It is better to let each battle move forward in its own course for now and then make the adjustments after DOMA is dead and buried.
    A whole f-ing lot depends on the Supreme Court. Uh-oh…….well here’s hoping.

  36. emjayay says:

    She is what she is, a conservative super rich lady with some liberal tendencies. I did see her at a gay softball league game back in the day. She was wearing a baseball cap with DF on the front.

  37. FunMe says:

    Amen brother!

  38. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Wrong. That’s only true of non-controversial marriages. The home state has final say.

  39. Skeptical Cicada says:

    It’s irrelevant if the couple’s home state has a clearly articulated policy against recognizing out-of-state gay marriages, which virtually all the states that ban gay marriage have. The couples would have to move to the marriage equality and establish a bona fide domicile there–i.e., change job, home, drivers license, voting, and have no evidence of an intention to return to the first state.

  40. Skeptical Cicada says:

    A state statute that expressly refuses to recognize out-of-state gay marriages would also be enough–so that’s basically every state that bans gay marriage.

    Excellent work finding that article. It’s the leading one that I found too.

  41. Skeptical Cicada says:

    The article you cited above is an excellent source, although I find that author too optimistic in his reading of the cases.
    It’s getting murkier because sellout gays deliberately painted a falsely rosy and simplistic picture to try to convince gays to toss bi-national couples overboard in this bill.

  42. Skeptical Cicada says:

    No, fuck you, gay-hater.

  43. Skeptical Cicada says:

    We’ll sign you up to personally escort the first deported gay spouse to his airplane. You can explain to him how proud you are to have put a bullet in his marriage and how it’s better for him to be deported than for you to have to suffer the appalling personal indignity of having the imperfect UAFA on the law books.

  44. Skeptical Cicada says:

    That patronizing little breeder was disgusting. Not a shred of analysis of the politics, just his grand heterosexual endorsement of screwing the gays.

  45. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I.e. Almost always.

  46. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I don’t read his comments the way you do. I see a pathetic slap on the wrist for the Democrats while falling all over himself to endorse the anti-gay bill. Party hack trying to pretend to be speaking authentically gay. What did he do to stop Schumer et al.? Nothing. What will he do to punish them? Nothing. They’ll put some fake floor vote on the amendment in their congressional scorecard and give all these backstabbers full credit.

  47. JayRandal says:

    Actually FFL below is correct: He supposedly went to bathhouses in Andersonville area of Chicago. I have higher standards as Gay guy
    so I only go to classy Gay clubs in wherever state I reside in. Never
    been to a bathhouse anywhere NOT even in San Francisco when I lived in CA.

  48. JayRandal says:

    I believe Feinstein took advantage of mayor of SF being shot dead along with Harvey Milk. Being a former Californian myself (born and raised in CA) I have never trusted her. Giving her a free pass on Gay issues allows her to screw us over. Pelosi should
    be voted out by San Franciscans too.

  49. FunMe says:


  50. FunMe says:

    Since last year’s Presidential election, I pretty much just ignore the typical Democrat of line “the GOP is so bad” … because I know the Democrats can be just as bad. Plus when I answer the call from the DNC or others like them, I simply tell them off.

  51. FunMe says:

    Thank goodness I didn’t fall for that line this time. So proud that last time I voted I did NOT vote for anyone just because they are Democrat. Like my congressman … I think I voted for Micky Mouse instead of him. :-)

  52. JayRandal says:

    Yes FFL I am being diplomatically nice saying Obama went to Gay clubs since
    bathhouses are far more seedy places for him going there. I am a Gay club guy,
    but I never claim to be straight nor marrying a beard female for cover up being Gay.

  53. JayRandal says:

    I am NOT a Tea bagger nut, NOR somebody who thinks Obama was born in Kenya, but

    some Gays in Chicago have claimed Obama frequented Gay clubs. Nobody talks about
    it because he is supposed to be a Democrat President NOT a DINO selling out Gays.

  54. karmanot says:

    Watched MSNBC’s Chris Hayes come out in favor of anti-gay Immigration Amendment.

  55. BeccaM says:

    I seriously doubt it.

  56. Butch1 says:

    It’s true that removal of these Blue-Dogs would alleviate a lot of the problems of the democratic party but I think it goes deeper than just them. It’s systemic right to their leadership and until they are gotten rid of nothing is going to change.

  57. FLL says:

    If giving up equal rights is the price, the stupid cheese balls aren’t worth it. Next Easter, same-sex couples should just take the snack food. Pocket all of the Easter eggs and leave with them.

  58. BeccaM says:

    Besides, if we hunger-strike, they’ll just ship us off to Gitmo to be force-fed.

  59. BeccaM says:

    This is why I’ve been saying that even if Section 3 of DOMA is ruled unconstitutional, this does not automatically mean there’s no need for UAFA. At minimum, even with a favorable ruling (which is by no means guaranteed), we’re looking at many more years of litigation as each thread of the 1100+ federal rights tapestry is unraveled in the courts.

    I could easily see something like this happening: “Sorry, Texas resident, but your marriage to that Brit isn’t recognized in your home state, so no green card for your spouse. Establish residency in another state that does recognize your marriage, live there a year, and then you’re welcome to re-apply.”

  60. FLL says:

    Dead on target. I have no fear that my local Publix supermarket will run out of aluminum foil because your theory is not tin-foil in the least, but rather based on our common, well-documented experience of corporate greed. I’m sure the big corporations are lusting after this immigration “reform” bill. All the more reason to kill it until it provides some reasonable protection for same-sex couples.

  61. FLL says:

    A bit downthread, I wondered if there was some documentation explaining how the federal government determines whether a marriage is valid for immigration purposes. I am reading this paper published in the William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law. The link is here.

  62. BeccaM says:

    I have a theory that may not be completely tin-foil–

    The economy is beginning to show some signs of revival. Corporations have already outsourced about as much as they can, but they need more workers and want them to be H-1Bs rather than citizens. This bill triples the number of H1-B visas.

    Secondly, many of the more regressive Red states have passed draconian anti-immigration laws of their own, and this has made Big Agriculture very unhappy. Crops rotting in the fields last year and all that. So this bill would override those measures by turning the undocumented into documented. They need those field workers in the legal-status pipeline ASAP.

  63. karmanot says:

    Good God I hope not.

  64. karmanot says:

    Miss a chance to compare Hermes ties—-I can’t see that happening.

  65. Mark_in_MN says:

    Thanks, Becca. That’s not an unreasonable assessment. I generally do support the measure because I think it gets us, on the whole, to someplace better than where we are now. The “fines” and length of the waiting period are also things that could be better. I’m not exactly jazzed about the gobs of money to be spent on tightening boarder controls. And I would indeed like to see a solution for binational gay and lesbian couples (although I think marriage equality is a better and more permenant route, actually). But I think our current system isn’t working and is particularly failing undocumented immigrants. This may not serve them well, but it serves them better than the status quo.

    In my ideal, there would’t be a need for visas, permanent residency status, paths to citizenship, or even an Immigration and Naturalization Service etc. There wouldn’t be any such thing as illegal immigration by definition. But that ideal world is a very, very far way from our political reality.

  66. FLL says:

    Which news source do you see that in. I have a link to a Washington Post article in which Griffin denounces both the Democrats and the Republicans on the Senate committee.

  67. FLL says:

    Why the burning rush to pass an unfair bill? The last time an immigration reform bill was passed was 1986. Certainly if it’s waited 27 years, it could wait another year or two if that’s what it takes to pass a fair bill. The people who are trying to rush this legislation through—even before the Supreme Court rules in a few weeks—seem to have very suspect motives.

  68. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Sad but completely unsurprising to see Chad Griffin morph into Joe Solmonese. As I’ve said before, the problem with HRC is its Democratic-sycophant board of directors.

  69. nicho says:


  70. Skeptical Cicada says:


  71. Skeptical Cicada says:

    True. They aren’t as plagued with fucking sellouts as the gay community is.

  72. BeccaM says:

    And as I indicated below: Give millions of people who are currently breaking the law and who are not U.S. citizens a huge benefit while screwing over a whole different group of people, namely law-abiding gay and lesbian American citizens who happen to be married to a non-citizen spouse.

  73. nicho says:

    Well, he might, but the Jewish community wouldn’t — and they wouldn’t let him get away with it. They would not sit back and see their rights trampled.

  74. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Where were the immigration groups? Why, they were executing a bait and switch of exploiting the gay community to build support for immigration reform and then looked the other way as gays were tossed overboard. Fuck them and their anti-gay bill.

  75. nicho says:

    Well, let the bill die. Then, if the “millions of people” who will be deprived see they got screwed, they may join us in making enough of a stink to get a decent bill passed. What Barney is advocating is pure divide and conquer. Give “millions of people” a benefit while screwing over a whole different group of people. That is just cynicism in action — but then Barney is a seasoned politician, so he’s good at cynicism.

  76. nicho says:

    It’s amazing what people will do in exchange for being invited to a cocktail party or two.

  77. BeccaM says:

    I know you and I are in complete agreement on the need for both stick and carrot. The problem is those who claim to speak and advocate for our cause — HRC and so on — are all carrot.

    I still believe the status quo won’t change on this or any other progressive issue until the Blue Dogs start facing serious primary challengers.

  78. nicho says:

    Well, I suppose one way we could fight back is for the LGBT activists and bloggers to go on a “hunger strike” of sorts and refuse to trot on over to the White House for Cosmos and cheese balls at the holiday party. That would show the Dems.

  79. nicho says:

    I’d like to see some documentation of that that didn’t come from Teabaggers or the usual suspects. So, you’re suggesting he’s a Muslim from Kenya whose both a Community and a Nazi and is also on the downlow.

  80. FLL says:

    “…if the couple’s HOME state doesn’t have a strongly articulated policy
    against recognizing the marriages…”

    Yet another factor complicating matters. Do you have a link for this? If this is information is correct, then a Supreme Court opinion on Section 3 of DOMA wouldn’t shield same-sex couples from deportation in non-equality states unless the Court opinion specifically overrode the exception about a “strongly worded policy” (e.g., the many state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marrige). I’m glad the Supreme Court will rule within a month because the situation is getting murkier and murkier.

  81. Butch1 says:

    Exactly! They obviously do NOT need us and when they double-cross us and go so far as to stab us in the back it is time to just walk away from them. I’ve been saying it for a long time; we need to go third party and support candidates who will back us. We have the power and the money to start building another liberal party to equal this weak democratic party. It is spineless and lies to the people. I think we can pull people away from them with the right PR. They have done enough damage and lying that all we would have to do is just point it out. We need new blood and we do not need those liars doing business with the republicans anymore. We are the ones getting screwed.

  82. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Because that would amount to Democrats actually fighting for gay rights. They don’t have to fight for gay rights when they have an army of gay Democratic hacks who are willing to give them permission to treat us with contempt and then run interference for them and attack any self-respecting gay person who points out that the big gay Democratic emperor has no clothes.

  83. JD234 says:

    It’s not like a bill vanishes into the ether when it’s voted down. Why not pass the bill out of committee with the same-sex provisions, let the immigration-vulnerable Republicans (like Rubio) vote it down, and *then*, once you have that vote to hang around their necks, bring it up again without the same-sex provisions if you absolutely have to? This idea that you have to quit as early as possible if you won’t succeed is nonsense, even from a hard-nosed, realpolitik point of view. There are much better ways to advance the agenda even within the (probably mistaken) assumption that the ultimate fate is sealed.

  84. Skeptical Cicada says:

    You’re welcome. It is critical to my position in opposing the bill as anti-gay. It is also something that the political hacks running interference for backstabbing Democrats don’t want to admit. They prefer to act like the bill is just failing to move the ball forward when, in fact, it is a massive assault on these couples’ struggle to stay together.

  85. Skeptical Cicada says:

    You obviously don’t see the VAWA parallel because you’re drunk on Democratic political homophobia. It’s been repeatedly discussed on this blog in recent weeks. Go educate yourself if you can’t figure it out.

    See my comment above about not getting everything we want. I oppose this billo not because it merely leaves out gay bi-national couples, but because it constitutes an assault on them. It’s strict enforcement will make life even more untenable for them. You act as if it’s just neutral toward them. It isn’t. It’s an anti-gay bill without protecting them from the new enforcement system.

    You missed by sarcasm in the “single-issue voter” slur. It is never deployed when the “single issue” is a candidate’s racist or anti-Semitic positions. Refusing to support a candidate for those things is not derided as being a “single issue voters.” But when gays refuse to debase ourselves and endorse our own subordination, we’re immediately bullied by sellouts like you as “selfish,” single-issue voters.” No, dear, I’m not a single-issue voter. I have core principles that I won’t compromise. Gay equality is one of them. I certainly won’t be bullied by a sellout into debasing myself for a party rife with political homophobia.

    I’ve never met a gay sellout who admits to being a gay sellout. You’re no different.

  86. BeccaM says:

    Thank you again for bringing up that part, the increased and much more severe enforcement in the bill. I keep forgetting how, with the computerized tracking and much harsher penalties, that the likelihood of even an inadvertent violation — like overstaying a visa due to a missed or canceled flight — can and likely will result in permanent deportation.

    Honestly, if I was married to a foreign national, we’d probably already be living somewhere other than in America. Some country where breaking up a committed and legally-united family is judged controversial and unacceptable, as opposed to the U.S. where “divorce or exile” deemed to be perfectly acceptable.

  87. Butch1 says:

    I knew Obama was a “carnival barker” especially during campaign season but I never thought of Michele as being the “bearded lady.” Is there any truth to this or more unsubstantiated rumors?

  88. Butch1 says:

    Will this be the last time or will we continue to let them do it time after time? It’s up to us.

  89. Butch1 says:

    It’s past time we all forget this party and leave them in the dust where they belong. It’s obvious how they all feel and think about us. Why we continue to put up with this is beyond me. We need to put our money and our power behind people who actually believe in us and support them. They need to be elected and be in power. These democrats have had their chance.

  90. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I agree with incrementalism. As I have repeatedly said before, I would have no problem if the issue were merely leaving out UAFA. I strongly supported the Dream Act, for example.

    This bill, however, does not merely leave out gay bi-national couples. Rather, it tosses them into a harsh new enforcement regime without any protection. This bill will not merely hold things harmless for them. It will make their situation even more untenable than it already is. It is a major step BACKWARDS for them. It is an anti-gay bill as to them.
    And because I oppose anti-gay bills that take steps backwards, I oppose this anti-gay bill.

  91. BeccaM says:

    I’ll be honest and admit I personally could not give a damn about the current incarnation of immigration ‘reform.’ I’ve read through the summaries and proposals and most of what I’m seeing are concessions to Big Ag (who want legal guest workers) and corporations who want to see H1-B visas tripled in number.

    Dems want to court Latino voters, while the Republicans are trying to walk the fine line between reducing their traditional xenophobic reputation among the Latinos, while at the same time making it clear to their Red-Meat base through terms like “fines” and decade-long waiting periods that the regressive-conservative ideals haven’t been forgotten.

  92. leliorisen says:

    There are times when Barney Frank is better off not saying anything.

  93. Butch1 says:

    They “lie” like a rug during election time. This past election time was by far, the worst I have ever seen them. If they all had been the party of Pinocchio, we would be able to recognize them all a half a mile away by their noses.

  94. Mark_in_MN says:

    No selling out, just not burning bridges because we don’t get everything we want right away and recognizing that getting somewhere in politics sometimes does mean knowing when to push and when not to. And, yes, I’m not a single issue voter. I think being a single issue voter is ethically and politically questionable. There are many things I also care about. I don’t see why I should not seek to get other issues taken care of or force other groups to remain discriminated against or downtrodden because I’m not getting everything I’d love to see for myself and the whole LGBT community.

    And, no, I didn’t miss passage of the inclusive Violence Against Women Act. I’m not sure what parallel you’re trying to draw with that reference.

  95. Butch1 says:

    Amen, to that.

  96. BeccaM says:

    Well, then I’ll be a purist liberal. God knows we need at least a few on our side, because tolerating bigotry and treating anti-gay animus as if it’s merely another valid point of view hasn’t helped our cause.

    Obviously UAFA, just like ENDA, is one such aborted attempt. I’m glad you agree with me though that this is in no way a victory, and I will happily keep pointing out that it is an abject failure on the part of our self-described Democratic allies, and not the gay rights victory they’ve been trying to claim.

  97. karmanot says:


  98. karmanot says:

    “Fuck you.” Please don’t ,at least without a paper bag over your head.

  99. Butch1 says:

    Not much I can add to that. ;-)

  100. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I realize that you don’t actually give a damn what the law actually turns out to be because all this is just you vomiting a political hack talking point in running interference for the betrayals by political homophobes, but you’re wrong on the law.

    Federal immigration law only recognizes evasive marriages if the couple’s HOME state doesn’t have a strongly articulated policy against recognizing the marriages, as most states DO have when it comes to gay marriage. If Justice Kennedy follows through and accepts a states’ rights argument in striking down DOMA, that deference to the home state will likely become constitutionally mandatory.

    So once you’ve exploited Lavi Soloway’s premature and incomplete analysis to dissemble about this point, gay bi-national couples are going to have to contend with what the law really is, not what you have disingenuously claimed it to be for political purposes.

    Shame on you.

  101. karmanot says:


  102. BrandySpears says:

    Fuck you. I do not hate gays or lesbians – whether they might be transgender of not – unlike you, dear.

  103. karmanot says:

    “But do we really want to play the Republican hostage taking game ourselves?” Yes.

  104. karmanot says:


  105. karmanot says:

    “The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make the other bastard die for his,” And, count the blood money profits while doing it.

  106. Skeptical Cicada says:

    BeccaM is exactly right.

  107. karmanot says:

    ++++++ like

  108. Skeptical Cicada says:

    No, she’s been unrelentingly obnoxious in spewing her transgender hatred of gay men.

  109. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Ah, of course, this is all about your transgender hatred of gay men. As usual.

  110. Skeptical Cicada says:

    You’re apparently too stupid to know that Dianne Feinstein has ALWAYS been a thorn in the side of gay San Franciscans, including blocking civil rights bills as a Supervisor and vetoing them as mayor.

  111. Skeptical Cicada says:

    You apparently missed passage of the gay-inclusive Violence Against Women Act. You’re infected with your own political homophobia.

    Shorter version of your second paragraph: You selfish gays are single-issue voters who won’t ever take a bullet for anyone else. To which I say, fuck you.

    Good luck continuing to compliantly lie down under the bus and enable more betrayals. Sorry, but this faggot won’t be lying under any bus with you and your sellout friends.

  112. Mark_in_MN says:

    I think it’s for much the same reason that conservative rhetoric so often gets the upper hand in public discourse. Conservatives demand purity. They are authoritarian and tow the line. Something unacceptable in part make the whole thing the end of the world. And they like to play with their little toys and attempts at poison pills. Progressives and democrats (yes, they aren’t the same thing), tend to be more moderate and tolerant (sometimes to a fault). In general, they aren’t authoritarian and won’t insist that everyone follow unwaveringly. They are much more willing to accept that laws and political deals won’t be perfect or pure, that there will be provisions that are not acceptable in themselves but allow for the movement toward goals. I’d call this realism. I also think it can be good sometimes (although not always) to not let the poison pills become poisonous, to let them go by to get other things that are wanted rather than allowing them to do what they are really designed to do, scuttle the whole thing.

    As frustrating as it can be, law and politics is almost always incremental, with broad and major changes taking place rarely and after many years of attempts and aborted attempts.

    And I’ll agree wholeheartedly that calling this bill an advancement for gay rights without UAFA in it is patently ridiclous.