In an “I’ll scratch your back and then you scratch mine” political strategy, U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois is voicing his support for a gay rights bill to be a part of his proposed immigration reform legislation. Gutierrez feels he could gather more support for immigration reform by including immigration gay rights in his proposed legislation.
The “Uniting American Families Act” proposed in 2009, would allow gay and lesbian Americans to bring their partners living abroad to the U.S. legally. Under current immigration law a citizen or legal resident can obtain a visa only for an immediate family member not for a same-sex partner.
This unique vote getting strategy could back fire on Gutierrez, since the gay rights bill is opposed by the U.S. Conference of Bishops and the Catholic Church that wholeheartedly support immigration rights and a path to citizenship. Most Republicans who oppose immigration reform until the borders are secure remain unswayed in changing their opposition even if gay rights are added to immigration legislation.