(Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
Evangelicals who have come together to support immigration reform have expressed concern over the White House's decision to include support for same-sex couples in their official immigration proposal.
While not mentioning the issue during his Tuesday speech demanding comprehensive immigration reform, President Barack Obama's proposal does include measures that pertain to same-sex couples.
The Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, told The Christian Post that he questioned the inclusion of another hot button issue in an already tense subject.
"It seems to me that … you are combining two disparate issues when it hasn't been resolved in the national consciousness. I do not understand it strategically," said Salguero. "We want immigration reform, but I think to put this issue as part of it is really going to complicate it for conservatives who really want immigration reform."
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told CP that such a proposal would be a "deal-killer."
"Same-sex partner provisions such as those included in the Uniting American Families Act would be strongly opposed by many in our communities who are otherwise sympathetic or even enthusiastic about the benefits of immigration reform," said Land.
"[President Obama] needs to understand that's a deal breaker for lots of us and it needs to not be in there."
In a speech delivered Tuesday about immigration reform, President Obama laid out the many components to reform that he believed were needed.
The president's proposal will also include extending certain immigration benefits to bi-national same-sex couples, who presently do not receive the same benefits as opposite-sex couples.
According to the section on "Streamlining Legal Immigration" on an online White House fact-sheet, "It also treats same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner."
Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said in a statement that he took issue with that part of the proposal due to current federal law.
"This is yet another example of the President playing politics rather than enforcing our nation's laws and offering a true, workable solution," said Brown.
"First, his Administration threw in the towel and refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Then, he came out of the closet on gay marriage. Now, he is apparently proposing a direct violation of DOMA, currying added favor with gay activists, many of whom have lavished contributions on his reelection campaign."
Regarding how successful such a proposal for this extension of benefits would be, Land told CP that he doubted the effort would get through Congress.
"I don't think it will be in any proposal that passes the House and the Senate because with it in there it won't pass the House and the Senate," said Land.
"So the president needs to decide whether he wants to immigration reform passed this year or not … We're just saying that that's a deal-killer."