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MPs have voted resoundingly to extend abortion rights and same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland, after years of public activism.

The government has said it will honour the plan despite ministerial doubts, with the Commons voting 383 to 73 to pass the legendary amendment to a predominantly technical bill on the stalled Northern Ireland assembly.

Labour MP Conor McGinn tabled the bill, who is a longstanding campaigner for same-sex marriage rights in the province.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage is not legal. Prior to the vote, Northern Ireland minister John Penrose insisted that the government would honour the result; 

“Should this pass it will go into law,” he said. “It will become part of primary legislation. And so ministers will be bound by it and the government will proceed.”

MPs have also voted on another amendment to the bill to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland, tabled by the Labour MP Stella Creasy.

The government have said for a long time that both issues are devolved matters and shouldn't be imposed on the North by Westminster, but McGinn and Creasy emphasise that that action must be taken.

The assembly and executive have been suspended since January 2017 amid political deadlock. McGinn’s amendment would theoretically lead to a change in the law within three months if Stormont remains stalled.

The region's executive can approve or repeal the measure if and when the North's executive is united in government.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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McGinn told the Commons the house had “failed LGBTQ+  people in Northern Ireland before."

The MP said: “Tonight, we have the chance to do the right thing. People in Northern Ireland, and indeed across Britain and Ireland, are watching. I, for one, am not going to let them down. I hope colleagues do not let them down either.”

Congratulations Northern Ireland, and thank you Conor McGinn for this incredible achievement for the LGBTQ+ community.

Feature image: © Brendan Harkin/Love Equality

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Last month, the Australian public have voted to legalise same-sex marriage.

The move meant that the country's parliament could formally begin the process of legislating for the union.

The results of the parliaments' vote was overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage, and in celebration, the entire room burst into song. 

Australian MPs endorsed marriage equality and broke into a round of applause, cheers, and began singing. 

The officials sang  I Am Australian by The Seekers, and one or two could be seen wiping away tears of joy after the announcement.

Only four MPs did not back the reform.

Their delighted reaction is currently going viral, as the world looked on anticipating their decision. 

From this Saturday onwards, same-sex couples will be able to register to get married in Australia.

'What a day for love, for equality, for respect. Australia has done it,' Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, according to Sky News.

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Just days after Tim Wilson, an Australian MP, proposed to his partner, Ryan Bolger, in Parliament in celebration of Australia's new stance on same-sex marriage, Austria has taken a step in the same direction.

According to emerging reports, Austria's Constitutional Court has declared that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry from the beginning of 2019, after determining that the current laws are discriminatory.

The ruling, which was published today, confirms that restrictions on same-sex marriage will be lifted at the end of 2018.

"The Constitutional Court nullified with a decision on December 4, 2017 the legal regulation that until now prevented such couples from marrying," read a statement from the court.

Twitter has wasted no time celebrating the news, with one social media user writing: "Australia and Austria allowing same sex marriage within one week of each other, finally. And the high court in Austria recognising it as a human right!"

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The Australian public have voted to legalise same-sex marriage, in a result that paves the way for the country's parliament to formally begin the process of legislating for the union.

The historic postal survey saw 79.5 per cent of Australia's registered voters have their say – making the turnout bigger than both the Brexit referendum and the 2016 US presidential election. Of the 79.5 per cent, 61.6 per cent voted yes.

While the results of the vote are not legally binding, it is widely expected that legislation will be passed by the government before the end of the year, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying he wants to make the people's wish “the law of the land by Christmas.”

Australia will become the 26th nation to legalise same-sex marriage, in what is a huge step forward for a country where, in some states, homosexuality was illegal until 1997.

Celebrations are well under way down under, with many happy voters taking to Twitter to express an overwhelming sense of joy.

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An Australian Senator has released a rival same-sex marriage bill that could see a number of anti-discrimination laws overturned.

While the proposed bill, sponsored by Liberal senator James Paterson, would legalise same-sex marriage, a number of attached exemptions would give wedding service providers, such as bakers and florists, the right to refuse gay couples.

It comes just days before the results of a nationwide postal survey are released to the public.

Should the survey return a 'yes' vote, the Australian government are expected to debate a number of proposed exemptions to the law.

The Paterson bill,  would also include a clause which would allow government employees the right to refuse to register a same-sex marriage, while parents will be able to remove their child from a class if the content taught contradicts their beliefs.

Paterson, who is a supporter of same-sex marriage, said he thinks “religious freedom and speech are important rights.”

“I suspect 30-40% of Australian will vote no. I don't think their votes should mean we shouldn't have same-sex marriage, but I do think that their freedoms should be protected and I think my bill is a bill that best does that,” he said.

The proposed bill has been heavily criticised by supporters of gay marriage with Alex Greenwich, co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality, claiming it has the potential to “divide Australians.”

“Australians have been voting not to entrench discrimination in legislation. That is what senator Paterson's bill seeks to do,” he said.

Adding: “Are we going back to a time in Australia where there were signs outside a shop saying who they would serve and who they wouldn't?”

The results of the national survey on same-sex marriage are expected on Wednesday, November 15. 

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Malta, a predominantly Catholic nation, is set to vote for same-sex marriage.

However, the Catholic Church is objecting the motion.

When the Labour government won its second term last month, it promised to introduce the legislation as its first law, which the opposition party equally supports.

Image result for marriage equality flag

However, many are questioning whether the law will pass unanimously or if there will be any opposing votes.

The Bill, which will be voted on later today, is piloted by Malta's Equality Minister Helena Dalli, as she wants to "modernise the institution of marriage."

Image result for malta

This will be the latest turn-around in the country, since divorce wasn't legalised until 2011.

Adoption among gay and lesbian men and women in civil unions was only introduced in 2014.

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It's only been two years since Ireland legalised same sex marriage, and now Germany is following suit. 

The German parliament has just voted in favour of same-sex marriage. 

Same sex couples have availed of civil partnerships since 2001, but up until now have not been granted marriage.

 

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The reform grants full marital rights to gay and lesbian couples.

This is including child adoption.

Scenes of joy have followed the announcement, as German LGBTQ community members have taken to Twitter to express their happiness. 

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not support the reform.

'For me, marriage in German law is marriage between a man and a woman and that is why I did not vote in favour of this bill today,' she said.

'I hope that the vote today not only promotes respect between different opinions but also brings more social cohesion and peace.'

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Ireland's Marriage Equality Bill will be signed into law next week after passing the final stages of approval today.

The Bill was approved by members of the Seanad this afternoon at Leinster House, to tumultuous applause from those present.

It will appear on the government's statute book next week after it has been signed by President Michael D. Higgins, at which point it is simply up to Tánaiste Joan Burton to sign the commencement order that will make the Bill a part of Irish law.

At that point same-sex couples will officially be entitled to a full civil marriage in Ireland.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald welcomed the Bill's approval, saying it was truly a "momentous moment" for Ireland.

Senator David Norris, a longtime supporter of Ireland's fight for marriage equality, said today was "the end of a 46-year long journey," joking that the long wait "was beginning to get a bit boring."

Ireland will soon officially be the first country in the world to introduce same-sex marriage by popular vote.

With crowds gathering outside and in the Seanad Eireann gallery, supporters took to social media to express their delight at today's development:

A great day for Ireland.

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Lena Dunham was one of many straight people in the world who vowed that she would not be walking down the aisle until it was legal for every person to do so, regardless of their gender.

But with the American Supreme Court’s ruling on the 26th June that same-sex marriage is to be made legal in all 50 states, the road is now wide open for the Girls star to take the plunge.

After the news broke she even tweeted her boyfriend of three years, Bleachers and Fun frontman, Jack Antonoff saying, “get on it, yo.”

But now that she has the option to don “the fluffy white dress”, the question is, does she actually want to?

The 29-year-old penned a letter to The New Yorker where she explained her own confusing feelings about the institution of marriage.

Ms Dunham explained how it was easy to reject marriage as a self-sacrifice but that when the requirement for her to do so disappeared, their decision all of a sudden didn’t seem like so much a sacrifice.

“Just two days earlier, we had been living in a world where marriage wasn’t an option, or, rather, was an option that we had postponed for ourselves,” she revealed.

“And, instead of a hardship, this limbo had been a saving kind of relief, a limitless breathing space that allowed our relationship to grow without any of the tortured questions of legal commitments and ring settings that seem to plague so many sooner than they might want.”

Lena described how after the ruling came through, she was bombarded with messages from friends and family asking about her own big day.

“Now you can get married!” “Hello, bride to be <3” “So, when’s the wedding?” were just a few of the message she was getting.

So, is the countdown on? Will we be seeing Ms Dunham skipping down the aisle wearing white frills any time soon?

It doesn't appear that there will be a Mr and Mrs Antonoff just yet. "I like being a guest, for now," Lena admitted. "Aunt Bonnie, keep the dress in the box. But don't throw it away." At least she's not ruling it out anyway. 

And if real life marriage is off the cards, we at least hope that she gives us a Girls wedding sometime soon. With Marnie and Dessy having fallen apart our next best hope is Hannah and the new guy!

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Russia has banned same-sex weddings and classified homosexuality as a mental illness, so when Alina Davis and Ellison Brux decided to get married, both dressed as brides, they expected to run into some trouble.

One of the brides Alina is androgynous, and while he was born a man (proved by his birth certificate) he dresses like a woman every day. And his wedding day was no different.

Alina and Ellison looked almost identical on their big day, and they said that while they didn’t experience any trouble when they handed in their marriage application, the head of registry wasn’t too impressed with Alina’s outfit choice:

“Then the head of the registry office called several times, telling us that they didn't want us to turn up both in wedding dresses. He said marriages in Russia were between a man and a woman and nobody else."

On the day itself, the pair ran into a few problems:

"When we arrived at the day of the wedding, the head of the office was trying to hide us all the time.

“They rushed us into the office through a back door and that really offended us. He told us we were a disgrace to the society and we needed medical treatment.

“Now, I am pleased to see that the photos are being shared and it's being discussed and I hope we might inspire others to challenge the restrictive practices here and formalise their unions.”

“We are not alone in having such problems. I have written to couples who are planning similar marriages and are afraid of failures with registration. Be aware – you cannot be refused.”

 

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