Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) dismissed questions about same-sex families during a discussion about immigration reform on Wednesday morning, saying that questions about whether or not protections should be extended to binational gay and lesbian couples represent a “red herring.”
The United States is home to at least 28,500 same-sex couples in which one partner is a citizen and the other is not, but federal law does not recognize these relationships and prohibits gay and lesbian couples from seeking visas on the basis of same-sex unions. The Obama administration’s framework would allow couples to apply for visas on the basis of their permanent unions, while the bipartisan senate principles do not.
“I think it is a red herring. I think then, do we want to guarantee a tax payer free abortion?” McCain asked in response to a question about the provision from Politico’s Mike Allen. “I’m telling you now, if you love this up with social issues and things that are controversial, the it will endanger the issue. ”
He added, “I’ll be glad to talk about, discuss it, what the ramifications are, but if someone does that as the most important aspect of comprehensive immigration reform, then we just have a fundamental disagreement.” “Which is more important, LGBT or border security?” McCain finally said.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a member of the bipartisan group of Senators who are pushing for immigration reform, said that lawmakers must agree to a broad framework before tackling the equality amendment.