President Barack Obama on Tuesday
unveiled his plans for immigration reform. And unlike a Senate
framework released Monday, Obama's plan includes gay and lesbian
Under the current law, a gay or lesbian
American citizen cannot sponsor an immigrant spouse for citizenship
due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which prevents the federal
government from recognizing their marriage.
Speaking Tuesday on CBS This
Morning, Arizona Senator John McCain confirmed that the Senate's
plan does not address the inequity.
McCain: Gay couples “not of paramount importance” to immigration
The president laid out his objectives
during a speech delivered in Las Vegas. Key principles include
strengthening border security, cracking down on employers hiring
undocumented workers, allowing undocumented immigrants to earn their
citizenship and streamlining legal immigration.
Under that last principle, Obama
included a “keep families together” proposal, which aims to
eliminate backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system. One
proposal is to allow gay and lesbian U.S. citizens the ability to
seek a visa for a spouse “on the basis of a permanent relationship
with a same-sex partner.”
It was not immediately clear what unions
would qualify as a “permanent relationship” since only 9 states
and the District of Columbia allow gay couples to marry.