Roman Catholics and evangelicals who have been calling for immigration reform could end up opposing the legislation if it includes same-sex partners among those who would be eligible for visas.

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That proposal is backed by President Barack Obama, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other liberal Latino groups.

But Catholic bishops, with the support of evangelicals and other theological conservatives, have sent a letter to Obama protesting his proposal. Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the bishops, says recognition of gay couples "jeopardizes passage of the bill."

Galen Carey, public policy officer for the National Association of Evangelicals, which has been lobbying for new immigration laws, said, "Our view is immigration reform is not the place to have this discussion."

The theologically conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod also signed the Catholic bishops' letter.


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