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Senator says same sex couples should get benefits

  • In this May 16, 2012 file photo, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. gestures during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON: The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee wants the government to start affording same sex, married couples the same immigration benefits that heterosexual couples now enjoy.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, says he will introduce later Wednesday the Uniting Families Act, a bill that would provide spousal immigration benefits to same sex couples. Leahy discussed the bill briefly during a 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 three gay marriage cases later this year.

 
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