- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Vermont Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy said he will introduce on Wednesday a bill that extends immigration benefits to same-sex married couples.

Currently, the federal government does not recognize gay marriages, but the U.S. Justice Department has backed off defending Defense of Marriage Act cases, The Associated Press reported. DOMA defines legal marriage as between a man and a woman.

Mr. Leahy’s legislation can be seen as the next step toward the federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Called the Uniting Families Act, the bill would give same-sex couples who are married the same immigration rights as heterosexual married couples. That means, for example, homosexuals could sponsor partners to receive green cards, the AP reports.