Gay rights has emerged as an unexpected point of controversy in the congressional debate over immigration reform, prompting key Republicans to warn that it could derail efforts to reach a bipartisan compromise.
President Obama and some congressional Democrats are pushing for any immigration reform plan to include a provision to allow gay Americans to sponsor their immigrant partners for legal residency in the United States. That is a right currently enjoyed only by married heterosexual couples.
But Republican leaders on immigration reform say it's already going to be an uphill battle to convince their GOP colleagues to support a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. Including a provision for gay partners will make reform legislation an even tougher sell, key senators said.