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Leahy backs off on offering amendment to immigration bill for gay couples

Sen. Patrick Lehy DAVID ESPO [ap]

WASHINGTON — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy says he will not offer — for now — an amendment to an immigration bill allowing gay Americans to seek green cards for their spouses.

Sen. Patrick Lehy

The much-awaited announcement Tuesday by the Vermont senator clears the way for passage by his committee of the far-reaching legislation offering the possibility of citizenship to millions in this country illegally.

Leahy had been under pressure from gay rights groups to offer the amendment, which would have allowed gays to petition to bring their spouses to the United States like straight Americans can.

But the White House and other Democrats privately urged Leahy to hold off as Republican supporters of the immigration bill threatened to withdraw their support over the issue.

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