Same-Sex Issue Imperils Immigration Effort, Rubio Says

Insistence on equal treatment for same-sex couples may scuttle bipartisan efforts to overhaul U.S. immigration law if it becomes a central issue in the debate, a Republican author of a Senate blueprint said.

Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who is backing an immigration-overhaul framework unveiled last week, said today the “issue has so many land mines and pitfalls that it’s going to be hard enough to do” without inserting marriage questions.

President Barack Obama, who unveiled his own push for an immigration overhaul in Nevada a day after the Senate plan was released, supports equal treatment of same-sex couples when one partner is from outside the U.S. That provision isn’t in the Senate framework, and may draw opposition from Republicans.

“If that issue becomes a central issue in the debate, it’s just going to make it harder to get done,” Rubio said at an event in Washington sponsored by BuzzFeed Inc. “There’s going to be a lot of strong feelings about it on both sides.”

The bipartisan Senate group hasn’t “really discussed the pros and the cons of it,” Rubio said.

The freshman lawmaker, elected to the Senate in 2010, is viewed as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kathleen Hunter in Washington at khunter9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at jschneider50@bloomberg.net

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