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Church of England rejects blessings for gay marriages

Bishops in the Church of England issued new guidance on Saturday warning clergy they should not bless couples in same-sex marriages, after the idea was recommended in an internal report last year. The House of Bishops was clarifying the Church's response to new legislation allowing gay marriage in England and Wales, which will see the first ceremonies take place in March. "Services of blessing should not be provided. Clergy should respond pastorally and sensitively in other ways," said the guidance, drawn up at a meeting on Thursday.

Australia's top court overrules gay marriage in capital

Australia's top court Thursday struck down gay marriage in the nation's capital, ruling that parliament must decide on same-sex unions -- to the anguish of dozens who have wed under a landmark law. In a unanimous judgment scotching the Australian Capital Territory's new same-sex marriage law, the High Court ruled that only parliament -- not state and territory authorities -- had the power to decide who could wed.

Australia's top court overrules gay marriage in capital

Australia's High Court on Thursday struck down gay marriage in the nation's capital where dozens have wed under a landmark law, ruling that parliament must decide whether to approve same-sex unions. Had the nation's top court upheld the Australian Capital Territory's gay marriage legislation it would have opened the door to similar laws being passed across the country, pressuring the government to make it legal at a national level.

Australia's top court overrules gay marriage in capital

Australia's High Court on Thursday struck down gay marriage in the nation's capital territory, in a case seen as a test of the legality of same-sex unions. Had the nation's top court upheld the Australian Capital Territory's gay marriage legislation it would have opened the door to similar laws being passed across the country, pressuring the government to make it legal at a national level.

Australia's top court overrules gay marriage in capital

Australia's High Court on Thursday struck down gay marriage in the nation's capital where dozens have wed under a landmark law, ruling that parliament must decide whether to approve same-sex unions. Had the nation's top court upheld the Australian Capital Territory's gay marriage legislation it would have opened the door to similar laws being passed across the country, pressuring the government to make it legal at a national level.

Australia's first gay marriages held ahead of court ruling

Australia's first gay marriages were celebrated Saturday in the national capital Canberra, despite the prospect of a High Court decision ruling against the unions later this week. As soon as the clocked ticked past midnight, several couples tied the knot -- including Stephen Dawson, a Labor Party member of the Western Australian parliament, who married Dennis Liddelow on the lawns of the Federal Parliament.

Illinois governor signs same-sex marriage into law

By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Wednesday signed into law a bill extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, making the home state of President Barack Obama the 16th to allow such unions. The Illinois law, which takes effect June 1, is the latest in a series of recent victories for gay rights, coming after Hawaii's governor signed gay marriage into law last week and after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in October dropped his appeal of a court ruling that legalized same-sex marriages.

Factbox: List of U.S. states that permit gay marriage

(Reuters) - Illinois joined a growing list of U.S. states on Wednesday to allow same-sex couples to wed when Governor Pat Quinn signed a law making it the 16th to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. The Illinois law, which takes effect June 1, is the latest in a series of recent victories for gay rights, coming after Hawaii's governor signed gay marriage into law last week and after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie dropped his legal opposition to the unions in October.

Illinois governor expected to sign gay marriage into law

By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign same-sex marriage into law on Wednesday afternoon, which will make President Barack Obama's home state the 16th to allow such unions. Illinois state senators voted to legalize gay marriage last February, and the state House followed suit by a slim margin earlier this month. Once signed by the Democratic governor, the law is due to take effect on June 1, 2014.

European court rules civil unions must be open to gays

Civil unions should not be reserved for heterosexual couples, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Thursday, condemning Greece for creating a "life partner" legal category that excludes gays. Judges in Strasbourg said that authorities in Orthodox Christian Greece had not offered "convincing and weighty reasons capable of justifying the exclusion of same-sex couples" when passing a 2008 law.
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