Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) off-again, on-again support for comprehensive immigration reform is, at least for now, on track. Despite last week’s threats, the conservative Floridian has not betrayed his allies and has not walked away from the legislation he helped write.
There is, however, one issue that would force the Republican senator to walk away.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a co-author and key proponent of the Senate immigration bill, said he will revoke his support if an amendment is added that allows gay unauthorized immigrants to claim foreign same-sex partners as family.
“If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I’m done,” Rubio said Thursday during an interview on the Andrea Tantaros Show. “I’m off it, and I’ve said that repeatedly.”
His line in the sand has nothing to do with border security or tax penalties or provisions related to learning English. Rather, Rubio just can’t tolerate gay rights.
At issue, of course, is a provision from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), who wants to allow U.S. citizens in long-term same-sex relationships to sponsor foreign partners for green cards. The measure was defeated in committee, but Leahy intends to introduce it again on the floor.
The odds of success are poor – even Democrats who agree with Leahy fear derailing the bill – but Rubio wants to make it clear to his allies on the right that equal treatment for same-sex families would simply be a bridge too far.
It’s always good to know where a policymaker’s true priorities lie.