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Gay marriage injected into immigration debate

The Washington Post
At their home in Haverhil, Mass., Tim Coco, left, and husband Genesio Oliveira, who emigrated from Brazil, play with their new puppy, Pure, a 5-month-old Maltese. They spent three years apart after an immigration judge ordered Oliveira to return to Brazil in 2007. U.S. immigration officials granted Oliveira a visa in 2010 after high-ranking federal officials made personal appeals for Coco and Oliveira. Illustrates IMMIG-MARRIAGE (category a), by David Nakamura (c) 2013, The Washington Post. Moved Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Gretchen Ertl)

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By The Washington Post
Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, 7:56 p.m.
 

WASHINGTON — In his final legislative act as a senator, Secretary of State John Kerry sought to resolve an international dilemma. He filed Senate Bill 48, seeking “permanent resident status for Genesio Januario Oliveira,” a gay Brazilian facing deportation because he does not qualify for a spousal visa.

President Obama is aiming to grant same-sex couples like Oliveira and his American husband, Tim Coco, equal immigration rights as heterosexual couples. The proposal could allow up to 40,000 foreign nationals in same-sex relationships to apply for legal residency and, potentially, citizenship.

The measure has inspired a fierce pushback from congressional Republicans and some religious groups, who say it could sink hopes for a comprehensive agreement aimed at providing a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.

The same-sex measure was not included in the immigration proposals issued last week by a bipartisan Senate working group, whose overall framework Obama largely embraced.

Congressional Republicans immediately condemned the idea. “Which is more important, LGBT or border security?” asked Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., using an abbreviation for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. “I'll tell you what my priorities are.”

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