Obama's About to Make Immigration Reform a New Front in the Gay Rights Battle

The Atlantic

The gay community gasped in unison on Monday afternoon, when the Senate revealed an immigration plan that did not include same sex couples. Don't worry gay community. Barack Obama's got you covered. At least according to several of BuzzFeed's sources, he does.

RELATED: Pundits Agree: It's The Wrong Time for Immigration Reform

On Monday night, BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner and Zeke Miller reported that Obama would indeed include same sex couples in his immigration reform package. In their own words: "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." This means that, if Obama does make the change and if the proposal makes it through Congress, same-sex couples would have equal rights as heterosexual couples on crucial issues like green cards.

RELATED: Governor Martinez: Illegal Immigration Okay for Me, Not for You

This would be a very presidential move for the president -- decisive, direct and somewhat demanding. After all, the folks on Capitol Hill have so far been super ambivalent about the issue. It was not included in the final proposal, but lawmakers had discussed including same sex couples in the new set of laws. However, when asked why the initial proposal lacked LGBT provision. Sen. John McCain, one of four Republicans working on the proposal simply said, "We'll be working out those details." Rep. Jerrold Nadler was a little more opinionated about the issue, calling it "madness" that same sex couples were left out, a "major omission."

RELATED: North Carolina (Quietly) Moves to Ban Gay Marriage Forever

No matter what happens from here on out, it's becoming apparent that the gay rights movement is about to latch on to the push for immigration reform. And why shouldn't they? The point of reform is to fix things that are broken, and as the country moves towards greater equality for people of all sexual orientations, why should same sex couples be left out? Well, it could get tricky. If the conversation turns too sharply in the direction of gay rights, the larger immigration reform process could get bogged down or even stuck in the mud completely. Let's leave the ifs alone for now, though, and see what the president actually does. 

View Comments (12)