Asymmetrical opposition: Anti-immigrant GOP to engage in gay bashing to kill reforms

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The nativist and racist base of the GOP that is anti-immigrant and opposed to any immigration reforms that would create a pathway to citizenship has settled upon asymmetrical opposition: it will engage in gay bashing to kill any immigration reform legislation. "We're not against immigrants based upon their nationality or race — but no gays!"

This is a strategy to divide the religious community between those who support humane treatment for immigrants, and those who are fundamentally opposed to marriage equality based upon religious doctrine. These are often one and the same groups, e.g., the Catholic Church, so this asymmetrical strategy forces religious groups to choose between competing values.

Tea-Publicans are on the wrong side of public polling on both issues with majorities of Americans favoring both marriage equality and immigration reforms with a pathway to citizenship.

It remains to be seen whether the U.S. Supreme Court will derail this asymmetrical opposition with a landmark decision on marriage equality this year before the immigration reforms come up for a final vote in Congress.

The Washington Post reports, In immigration debate, same-sex marriage comes to the fore:

President Obama is aiming to grant same-sex couples. . . equal immigration rights as their
heterosexual counterparts.

But the measure has inspired fierce pushback from congressional
Republicans and some religious groups, who say it could sink hopes for a
comprehensive agreement aimed at providing a path to citizenship for 11
million undocumented immigrants.

The standoff may force Obama to
choose between two key interest groups — Hispanics and gays — that
helped power his reelection in the fall. The president must weigh how
forcefully to push the bill, known as the Uniting American Families Act,
while not endangering a long-sought deal to resolve the status of
undocumented immigrants, most of whom are Latino.

The same-sex
measure was not included in the immigration proposals issued last week
by a bipartisan Senate working group
, whose overall framework Obama
largely embraced. Several key Christian groups that have supported the
White House’s immigration push have objected to the measure on the
grounds that it would erode traditional marriage.

The issue has
prompted an intense lobbying effort on both sides, including a letter to
the White House from a coalition of influential church organizations
and a series of urgent conference calls between advocates,
administration officials and lawmakers.

For Obama, the political sensitivity was evident in the public
rollout of his immigration plans last Tuesday. Although the same-sex
provision was included in documents distributed by the White House
, the
president did not mention it in his immigration speech in Las Vegas.

* * *

But congressional Republicans immediately condemned the idea and
warned that the measure imperils broader immigration reform. Sen. John
McCain (R-Ariz.)
, one of the senators on the eight-member bipartisan
working group on immigration, said at a Politico breakfast last week
that injecting social issues into the debate over immigration
legislation “is the best way to derail it.”

“Which is more
important: LGBT or border security?” McCain said, using an abbreviation
for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. “I’ll tell you
what my priorities are.”

* * *

On a White House conference call with interest groups after Obama’s
appearance in Las Vegas, the first question was from an evangelical
activist who objected to the provision. Religious groups pushed back
again Wednesday on another White House call, according to a person who
participated in the conversation.

On the other side, several
Senate Democrats, including Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), Richard J. Durbin
(Ill.) and Robert Menendez (N.J.), had a conference call with gay
organizations blaming Republicans for not including the same-sex
provision in the bipartisan immigration proposal.

The advocates were told that Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.),
chairman of the Judiciary Committee, would offer an amendment to
include the provision in any comprehensive legislation that is formally
introduced, according to a person involved in the call.

* * *

Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, national field director of GetEqual, a gay
civil rights organization, said Obama gave a “really strong vision” for
gay rights in his inauguration speech last month.

“I hope that’s
more than words and will actually bring concrete actions,”
Sousa-Rodriguez said. If Obama does not fight hard for the same-sex
provision, he added, “I’ll be highly disappointed.”

Not all gay
rights groups are united. Some activists said they would not stand in
the way of an immigration deal without the same-sex couples provision if
the alternative was no reform deal at all. These activists said an
overall policy encouraging citizenship could help up to 700,000 illegal
immigrants who are estimated to be gay.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court is reviewing the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act,
a federal law that mandates marriage benefits only for heterosexual
couples
. Some gay rights advocates said that if the court strikes down
the law, perhaps as early as June, the question of a same-sex provision
in immigration law could be rendered irrelevant.

Oral argument of the cases before the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled for March.

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