Democrats immigration plan would cover gay couples

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

A key lawmaker involved in the bipartisan effort to reform immigration laws wants to cover gays and lesbians illegally in the United States, a potential hurdle to a final deal.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Immigration, said that he supports including gay binational couples, or homosexuals romantically involved with Americans but who can't skirt immigration laws by marrying their partner.

"It's something we still should consider," he said. "It's part of who we are as Americans."

The issue is a tough one because it suggests a federal endorsement of same-sex marriage, which Republicans won't back, and because those involved are gay. In the community it's referred to as "double-minority status."

Gutierrez said that the caucus has included gay bi-national couples in their reform plan, as has the president. "That's where I'm at," he said. Republicans have not included them in their plan.

But the Illinois lawmaker and Judiciary Committee member did not seem to be pushing the issue as a make-or-break option in the immigration reform negotiations that are expected to produce a bill as early as next month.