The Upshot

Evangelical support for immigration reform could waver over gay-rights issue

Liz Goodwin, Yahoo News
The Upshot

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The New York Times is reporting today what we've been telling you here at the Upshot for months: Evangelical and Catholic leaders are getting behind President Obama's push for comprehensive immigration reform and are trying to convince Republican senators to join in.

The story flags an interesting wrinkle in evangelical support, however. If the gay-rights movement succeeds in influencing immigration reform, religious leaders could head for the door.

Democratic Reps. Luis Gutierrez and Mike Honda say they want a measure tacked onto immigration reform that eases the reunification process for same-sex couples where one member of the couple is an immigrant. But, as suggested in the Times, this could alienate the socially conservative religious leaders trying to convince their congregations to support reform:

... J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican candidate for Ohio governor in 2006 and now a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, said he expected more evangelical leaders to come on board.

But Mr. Blackwell said the whole effort could implode if the final legislation extended family reunification provisions to same-sex couples where one spouse did not have legal status. For evangelicals, he said, “That would be a deal-breaker.”

The tension over the gay-rights issue highlights the reality that even when there is agreement, there is disagreement.

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