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Sunday July 5th, 2015 12:28AM

Leahy wants immigration benefits for gay couples

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Patrick Leahy wants the government to start affording same sex, married couples the same immigration benefits that heterosexual couples now enjoy.

Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, says his Uniting Families Act is a bill that would provide spousal immigration benefits to same sex couples. Leahy discussed the bill briefly Wednesday during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration reform.

Because the federal government does not currently recognize same sex marriages, U.S. citizens cannot sponsor their same sex partners for immigration benefits, including green cards.

The Justice Department is no longer defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court is set to take up gay marriage cases later this year.
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