Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, has expressed his support for including gay couples in immigration reform.

During an appearance Sunday on ABC's This Week, Reid told host George Stephanopoulos that he backed President Obama's proposal to allow a U.S. citizen the ability to seek a visa for a spouse “on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner.”

Under the current law, a gay American cannot sponsor an immigrant spouse for citizenship due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prevents the federal government from recognizing their marriage.

(Related: Conservatives want Obama to drop gay couples from immigration reform.)

“The president said he wants gay and lesbians to be able to have a family preference,” Stephanopoulos said. “Senator [John] McCain has said we shouldn't come up with legislation for what he calls social issues.”

“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,” Reid said.

“That's the position the Republicans are saying that's too heavy to lift.”

“If they're looking for an excuse not to support this legislation, this is another one,” Reid said. “But the American people are past excuses. They want this legislation passed.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

McCain recently acknowledged that the bipartisan plan currently being offered does not address the inequity.

“It's something that frankly is not of paramount importance at this time,” McCain said.