Harry Reid: Immigration Reform Needs to Protect Gay Couples
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that he wants President Barack Obama's immigration reform to include protections for LGBT families, Think Progress reports.
The website notes that there are at least 28,500 same-sex couples in which one partner is not a U.S. citizen. According to current federal law, these relationships are not legal and bi-national couples and their children are prohibited from gaining visas on the basis of same-sex unions. "The Obama administration's framework would allow families to apply for visas on the basis of their permanent unions, while the bipartisan senate principles do not," Think Progress writes.
A number of conservatives, however, don't want the immigration reform to include same-sex couples and Think Progress notes, "Reid characterized the GOP resistance to including the equality amendment as an excuse to avoid supporting comprehensive reform."
"This Week" host, George Stephanopoulos, mentioned Senator John McCain, Arizona State Senator and the Republican presidential nominee in the 2008 election, who has been vocal about his opposition to the amendment that would protect LGBT bi-national families.
"If we have gay folks in this country who have children, or they come from some other place they should be protected just like any other child," said Reid.
"That's the position the Republicans are saying that's too heavy to lift," said Stephanopoulos.
"If they're looking for an excuse not to support this legislation, this is another one, but the American people are past excuses. They want this legislation passed," said Reid.
Think Progress points out that McCain is one of the eight bipartisan senators who said equality for LGBT families in immigration reform is a "red herring" and linked the issue to supporting taxpayer funding for abortion services. Nevertheless, Reid says that he predicts that immigration reform is "certainly going to pass the Senate."
"It would be a bad day for our country and a bad day for the Republican party if they continue to stand in the way of this," Reid added.
According to the Associated Press members of the LGBT community have teamed up with members of the Latino community in order to make sure that married same-sex couples should be part of the immigration reform. Obama and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have included them in reform plans that would protect bi-national gay couples.
McCain and the other seven leading Democratic and Republican senators did not include protections for said families, however.
"I'm telling you now, if you load this up with social issues and things that are controversial, then it will endanger" the endeavor, said McCain.
Watch the clip of Reid on "This Week" below: