Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said on Tuesday morning that President Barack Obama’s decision to include immigration rights for same sex couples is a “red flag” on the president’s new immigration bill, because providing those rights is not an issue of “paramount importance.” According to BuzzFeed, former presidential candidate McCain called the provision something the U.S. Senate would “address in time.”
A Democratic source told BuzzFeed on Monday evening that Obama would be including a provision in his proposed immigration bill that would allow for the naturalization of international same sex partners of U.S. citizens.
The Senate framework of the bill does not include rights for binational same sex couples. Tuesday morning, CBS’ “This Morning” asked McCain, one of the Senate bill’s architects, whether it would be modified to include those rights.
“Well, it’s something that frankly is not of paramount importance at this time,” McCain replied. “We’ll have to look at it, we’ll have to gauge how the majority of Congress feels, but that to me is a red flag that frankly we will address in time.”
The issue is expected to be a sticking point in negotiations aimed at passing the bill.
While McCain’s wife Cindy and daughter Meghan have both campaigned for LGBT rights, the long-time Arizona senator was instrumental in helping pass Arizona’s Proposition 102 in 2010, which denied same sex couples the right to marry in that state.
Current U.S. law on the matter is determined by the Defense of Marriage Act (DMOA), which denies same sex binational couples the protections offered to heterosexual couples under the law. While the Obama administration is no longer defending DOMA in court, it is still in place, blocking the federal government’s ability to recognize same sex relationships as legitimate.
The Family Equality Council estimated that there are approximately 36,000 same sex binational couples currently in the U.S., half of whom are raising children.
Watch the video, embedded via BuzzFeed, below: