Comprehensive immigration reform must include equal rights for same-sex binational couples, Congressman Marc Veasey told Stonewall Democrats of Dallas on Tuesday night.
“Any bill we pass does not go far enough if same-sex language is not included,” Veasey said. “It absolutely has to be necessary.”
President Barack Obama also supports including a provision in immigration reform to allow gay Americans to sponsor their immigrant partners for legal residency. However, key House Republicans are opposed to the idea, setting up a potential showdown over the issue.
Veasey, a freshman Democrat who represents North Texas’ newest congressional district, pointed out that he became the first member of Congress to bring a DREAMer to the State of the Union last week.
“I support the president 100 percent on the principles that he’s laid out,” Veasey said, referring to Obama’s immigration reform proposals.
Veasey also noted that he’s a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He said he plans to join the LGBT Congressional Caucus, which had only three members from Texas in the last Congress.
“I can promise you that I will represent LGBT issues very strongly,” he said. “It’s something that I will continue to talk about, because it’s the right thing to do, and attitudes are changing in our country, and I just want to thank everybody here that has been a part of the fight for so long working on LGBT issues because you have really made a difference.
“It’s just amazing that in such a very short time period, how attitudes in this country have changed,” he said. “I think the people who are against equality in this country are really in the minority now. They are people who are holding on to the past and stopping the rest of the country from moving forward.
“A lot of families are feeling a lot better today because of all the hard work of everybody in this room,” he said.
Veasey made the comments to a standing room only crowd during Stonewall’s monthly meeting at Ojeda’s on Maple Avenue. The packed room was typical of the group’s final meeting before an endorsement screening. Stonewall will hold interviews with municipal candidates on March 9.
Six Dallas City Council candidates attended Tuesday’s meeting and spoke for 90 seconds each. They were Bobby Abtahi, Phillip Kingston and Jim Rogers from District 14; Delia Jasso and Scott Griggs from District 1; and Herschel Weisfeld from District 2. John Loza spoke as a surrogate for Adam Medrano, who’s running against Weisfeld in District 2.
Watch video of Veasey’s remarks below.