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Supreme Court gay marriage decision helps immigration bill

By Rachelle Younglai WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senators who wanted a gay rights provision added to the sweeping U.S. immigration reform bill backed off on Wednesday after the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the federal law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The decision removes one of the last obstacles for the Senate to pass the legislation that would overhaul the country's immigration system and give millions of illegal immigrants a chance to earn citizenship over 13 years.

Senator Leahy says he will move quickly on voting rights bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy on Tuesday pledged quick action on restoring voting rights protections after the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the landmark law. "I intend to take immediate action to ensure that we will have a strong and reconstituted Voting Rights Act that protects against racial discrimination in voting," Leahy said.

UPDATE 3-U.S. Senate panel backs crackdown on clandestine gun sales

* First vote on Obama's gun control proposals * Unclear if measure will win Senate approval * Committee to vote next week on assault weapons ban * Dispute unresolved on background checks for gun owners (Adds Obama comment, study on gun ownership) By Thomas Ferraro

Gun-control drive to get first votes in U.S. Congress

* Democratic-led panel expected to back four bills * But unclear which if any of them will win Senate approval * Dispute arises over background checks for gun owners By Thomas Ferraro WASHINGTON, March 7 (Reuters) - Less than three months after the Connecticut school shooting, a campaign to tighten U.S. gun laws that is backed by President Barack Obama will go to its first votes in Congress on Thursday when a U.S. Senate panel meets.

US Senate votes to renew, expand Violence Against Women Act

By Thomas Ferraro WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - With strong bipartisan support, the Democratic-led U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a White House-backed bill to expand and renew a landmark 1994 law to combat domestic violence. On a 78-22 vote - with 23 Republicans joining 53 Democrats and two independents - the Senate sent the measure to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act to the Republican-led House of Representative for consideration.
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