And now a new twist in immigration reform:
Same-sex couples will be a part of the proposal for addressing immigration reform that President Obama is scheduled to unveil Tuesday in Las Vegas, BuzzFeed has confirmed with multiple sources familiar with the White House plan.
A Democratic source said: “Same-sex couples will be part of his proposal.” A second source confirmed that, unlike the Senate framework released Monday, same-sex bi-national couples — those with one American and one foreign partner — will be included in the White House principles.
The decision by Obama seeks to remedy what advocates for same-sex couples view as one of the most searing inequalities under the existing federal limit on marriage to one man and one woman: LGBT American citizens simply have no way to confer citizenship on their romantic partners, something that is automatic — if not always simple — for straight couples.
Under current law, such same-sex couples, even when married under state law, are not eligible for the green cards that opposite-sex couples can receive. Foreign partners of same-sex couples have in the past found their green card applications denied — often forcing couples to separate or move abroad.
Although Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have taken steps to examine the issue and, in some cases, prevent deportation of the foreign same-sex partners of Americans, the Defense of Marriage Act continues to prevent the granting of green cards for such individuals.
White House officials did not respond to requests for comment about the issue Monday night.
When the Senate framework was unveiled Monday, same-sex couples were not included. BuzzFeed has learned that three of the Democratic senators involved in the bipartisan framework reached out to LGBT advocates on Sunday to let them know in advance that same-sex couples’ immigration issues would not be addressed in the Senate framework.
Will that stall immigration reform among GOPers? Will this wind up becoming the topic on conservative talk radio? Perhaps Arizona Senator John McCain’s reaction is a harbiger. Andrew Sullivan:
McCain says that bi-national gay spouses being ripped apart or being forced to live abroad isn’t of “paramount importance”…Either we are equal as human beings and citizens or we are not. Maybe McCain does not see civil equality as important in a liberal constitutional republic. I can’t see anything more important.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.