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British gay marriage bill clears crucial hurdle

The first gay marriages in England and Wales are set to take place in 2014 after the legislation passed through parliament's upper chamber the House of Lords on Monday. Jubilant gay rights activists cheered outside parliament as the bill cleared unopposed, while gay lawmaker Lord Waheed Ali told colleagues in an emotional speech: "My life and many others will be better today than it was yesterday." The government-backed legislation now passes back to the lower House of Commons for final debates on Tuesday, but they are expected to be little more than a formality.

Russia passes 'gay propaganda' ban

Russian lawmakers on Tuesday passed a law introducing stiff fines and jail terms for people who promote homosexual "propaganda" to minors, a measure critics fear will be used to justify the repression of gays amid rising homophobia. The State Duma lower house of parliament passed the controversial measure in a 436 to 0 vote with one abstention, clearing the way for its expected passage by the upper house and signature by President Vladimir Putin.

Russian parliament gears up to pass 'gay propaganda' ban

Russian lawmakers were preparing to vote Tuesday on a bill introducing fines and detention for homosexual "propaganda," a measure critics fear will be used to justify repression of gays. The Duma lower house was expected to pass the bill which bans "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" to minors by Russians and foreigners as well as media organisations. The bill's authors had earlier referred to homosexual relations but introduced the softer wording for the second as well as third and final readings expected later in the day.

Anglican head holds talks on gay marriage with activist

LONDON (Reuters) - The new spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans held private talks on Thursday on same-sex marriage with a prominent gay rights campaigner who had called him homophobic for opposing it. Less than a month after taking over for Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby agreed to meet Peter Tatchell after the activist publicly criticised him.

Queen to sign rights charter: palace

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was on Monday to sign a charter calling for an end to discrimination across the 54 Commonwealth nations, Buckingham Palace said. The monarch, who was recently hospitalised after contracting gastroenteritis, will authorise the document at a London event celebrating Commonwealth Day. "We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds," the document reads. All of the Commonwealth nations adopted the charter in December.
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