Evangelicals reject gay partners in immigration bill

WASHINGTON (BP)--Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land has joined other evangelical leaders in opposing an immigration reform proposal if it continues to treat homosexual partners the same as heterosexual married spouses.

The president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission signed onto a June 4 statement from the religious rights law firm Liberty Counsel taking exception to a same-sex partners provision in federal legislation being proposed by Sen. Charles Schumer, D.-N.Y.

The bill, which has yet to be introduced, would enable same-sex partners from overseas to become legal citizens of this country in the same way heterosexual spouses of United States citizens are now able to gain citizenship, according to Liberty Counsel.

"Same-sex domestic partnerships will doom any effort for bipartisan support of immigration and will cause religious conservatives to withdraw their support," Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew Staver said in the statement. "If same-sex domestic partnerships are included, the immigration bill will have no chance of passing."

In the one-page statement, Staver, Land and the other signers questioned whether Schumer and President Obama "are more interested in pandering to special interest groups" than they are addressing immigration reform.

"We call upon the President and Congress to secure our borders, enforce the law and pass a Just Assimilation Immigration bill," the statement said. "We urge our elected leaders to put the interest of America first and stop the political posturing."

Also signing the statement were Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Kenneth Blackwell, senior fellow at the Family Research Council and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on human rights, and Lou Engle, co-founder of The Call to Conscience.

Staver, Land, Rodriguez, Blackwell and Engle also signed onto a May 11 statement from Liberty Counsel that called for comprehensive immigration reform that first secures the country's borders.

Land has been calling for comprehensive reform of the country's immigration laws since 2006. That same year, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution on immigration that urged increased border security, enforcement of the laws, and judicious and realistic dealings with illegal immigrants, while encouraging Christian outreach to immigrants regardless of their legal status.


Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.

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