President Obama has been applauded for his plan to ensure that same-sex couples are treated equally under American immigration laws.

As same-sex marriages or unions are not recognised by federal law, a same-sex foreigner partner of an American citizen cannot currently be granted US citizenship on that basis.

Obama this week announced his plans to reform immigration laws, including making it easier for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants to become citizens.

A press statement from the White House on Tuesday confirmed that the president’s proposed reforms also include levelling the playing field for same-sex binational couples.

The statement said that the reform proposal “treats same-sex families as families by giving US citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner”.

It is not clear if the proposal will be supported by Republicans, with some already slating the idea.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin, however, welcomed the news.

“Every day, thousands of bi-national same-sex couples are confronted with the uncertainty of immigration laws that treat them as strangers. They face the impossible dilemma of having to choose between love and country.

“President Obama continues to demonstrate his tremendous leadership on behalf of our community by recognising that fixing our nation’s flawed immigration system must include relief for these loving, committed couples and their families,” said Griffin. 

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