Senate Majority Leader Harry (D-NV) expressed support for including gay and lesbian families in comprehensive immigration reform, during an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, insisting that they should have the same protections as everyone else.
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 and their children from seeking 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. Reid characterized the GOP resistance to including the equality amendment as an excuse to avoid supporting comprehensive reform:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): One of the other big issues, the President said he wants gay and lesbians to be able to have a family preference. Senator McCain has said we shouldn’t come up with legislation for what he calls social issues.
REID: 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.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s the position the Republicans are saying that’s too heavy to lift.
REID: 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.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), one of the 8 bipartisan senators, has characterized equality for gay and lesbian families in immigration reform as a “red herring” and compared it to supporting tax payer funding for abortion services.
Reid seemed to dismiss such rhetoric and predicted 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 said.