A change in the law that would have added homosexuality to federal laws regarding hate crime has been abandoned.

The bill, being pushed by Senator Ted Kennedy, had to be dropped after Republicans threatened to block a more high profile sex offender bill and blame it on him and gay activists.

Dropping the hate crime bill then allowed the national sex offender bill to pass unanimously.

Mr Kennedy promised to reintroduce the law in the next session.

He said: “Congress can’t ignore the problem, they send the poisonous message that some Americans deserve to be victimized solely because of who they are.”

The hate crime bill, widely supported by police, religious groups and gay activists, would have given the Department of Justice power to help local authorities investigate homophobic violent incidents.