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Obama immigration plan: Will it include gay couples?

Activists demand gay rights protections from Obama on immigration reform.

Gay marriage a 2012 05 11Enlarge
Same-sex couple Frank Capley-Alfano and Joe Capley-Alfano celebrate outside of San Francisco City Hall on Feb. 7 in San Francisco, California. A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the voter-approved Proposition 8 measure violates the civil rights of gay men and lesbians. (JUSTIN SULLIVAN/Getty Images)

Gay rights activists are calling on US President Barack Obama to protect the rights of binational gay couples in his new immigration plan as America debates key reforms, reported The San Francisco Chronicle.

Obama will offer a new immigration plan in a speech in Las Vegas today, according to Politico. It is not expected to take the form of a bill out of respect for immigration legislation proposed in Congress. 

But gay rights activists are seizing the moment to underscore a perceived failure on the part of the Senate to protect the rights of binational gay couples, a shortcoming they want Obama to address today, according to activists cited in the Chronicle.

Foreign partners who marry into a gay or lesbian relationship do not automatically get permanent resident status, unlike their heterosexual counterparts, said the Chronicle

California's Courage Campaign Director Rick Jacobs told the Chronicle that "we would expect that" to change with Obama, and said he hopes to see it in the blueprint from the US president today. 

The Washington Post said Obama is "likely to support treating same-sex couples in which one partner is an immigrant the same as married heterosexual couples," a provision that could prove divisive.

Arizona's Republican Senator John McCain told CBS today any such move would be "a red flag." 

McCain's comments come amid growing debate between the Obama administration and lawmakers on immigration, said Politico, with the US president against linking citizenship to border security in contrast with lawmakers who to see that a condition for releasing green cards to undocumented immigrants. 

There are 28,500 binational gay or lesbian couples in America, according to research by the pro-gay Williams Institute, said the Chronicle.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130129/obama-immigration-plan-will-it-include-gay-coupl