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WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Senate has passed a historic immigration bill. The vote on the bipartisan measure -- crafted by a group of lawmakers known as the Gang of Eight, was 68-32. It now goes to the House.

The legislation offers the hope of American citizenship to millions, while promising a military-style surge to secure the border.

The vote was far more than the majority needed to send the measure to the House. Prospects there are not nearly as good and many conservatives are opposed.

Vice President Joe Biden presided, and senators cast their votes from their desks, both steps reserved for momentous votes. The bill, a priority for President Barack Obama, would amount to the most sweeping changes in decades to the nation's immigration laws.

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) - Police have charged Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez with murder and weapons counts in connection with the slaying of a semi-pro football player whose body was found in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez's home.

 

   The charge was revealed Wednesday in Attleboro District Court after Hernandez was arrested at his sprawling North Attleborough home. Less than two hours after his arrest, the Patriots cut Hernandez from the team.

 

   The investigation started more than a week ago after semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd was found slain in an industrial park in North Attleborough, on the Rhode Island line not far from where the Patriots play.

 

   Lloyd's family says he and Hernandez were friends and that Lloyd's girlfriend and Hernandez's fiancee are sisters.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by holding that defenders of California's gay marriage ban did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings striking down the ban.

The court's 5-4 vote Wednesday leaves in place the initial trial court declaration that the ban is unconstitutional. California officials probably will rely on that ruling to allow the resumption of same-sex unions in about a month's time.

The high court itself said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states.

The outcome was not along ideological lines.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia.

"We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit," Roberts said, referring to the federal appeals court that also struck down Proposition 8.

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