President Barack Obama said he supports
recognizing the unions of gay and lesbian couples in a broad
immigration bill currently before Congress.
Obama, who is on a three-day tour of
Mexico and Costa Rica, made his remarks on Friday during a joint news
conference with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla.
“I can tell you I think that this
provision is the right thing to do,” Obama said. “I can also
tell you I'm not going to get everything I want in this bill.
Republicans are not going to get everything that they want in this
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of
Vermont is expected to propose the amendment to the legislation next
week. 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 such marriages. Leahy's amendment would allow a gay U.S.
citizen the ability to seek a visa for a spouse.
Conservatives have suggested that the
provision would gut Republican support for the immigration bill and
doom to failure the measure.
However, the point may be moot if the
Supreme Court strikes down DOMA next month. Such a ruling would
allow the federal government to treat all spouses equally, regardless
of sexual orientation.