Colombia becomes fourth Latin American country to legalize gay marriage

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Bogota, Colombia (AP) — Colombia’s highest court is paving the way for same-sex couples to marry in the conservative Roman Catholic nation.

Gay couples in Colombia were already allowed to form civil unions, with many benefits of marriage including inheritance, pensions and health benefits. But the symbolically important right to wed was something that so far has been denied.

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Cyprus’ first public gay wedding takes aim at prejudices

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LARNACA, Cyprus (AP) – The newlyweds wanted to go all-out with their wedding celebrations. All the trappings of a traditional Cypriot wedding were on display; the huge line of well-wishers with cash-filled envelopes in hand, a band playing the latest Greek pop hits and the mandatory roasted pork.

Marios Frixou and Fanos Eleftheriades said they wanted it that way, a public declaration of their commitment to each other. Their hope is to offer other gay couples on the small east Mediterranean island nation the courage to be open about their love for each other.

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Italian Prime Minister ready to push civil union legislation

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ROME (AP) – Italian Premier Matteo Renzi is considering resorting to a risky confidence vote in the Senate to ensure the passage of a bill allowing civil unions, but not marriage, for gay couples.

He told his Democratic Party members he is `’ready” to use the tactic on the bill if needed.

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Kentucky argues in brief that same-sex marriage ban is not biased

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration is arguing in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that Kentucky’s ban on gay marriage isn’t discriminatory because it bars both gay and straight people from same-sex unions.

The brief argues that because Kentucky’s law bars everyone from same-sex marriage, it isn’t discriminatory and should be upheld.

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Michigan judge must recognize 300-plus same-sex marriages

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DETROIT (AP) – A federal judge ruled Jan. 15 that Michigan must recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages performed during a brief window last year.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith wrote that the unions are valid, but stayed the decision for 21 days pending any appeal by the state.

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PA gay couples keep getting marriage licenses despite state ban

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Philadelphia (AP) – Officials outside Philadelphia are issuing marriage licenses to a pair of gay couples, despite a state law banning such unions.

A Montgomery County official says the two female couples applied for the licenses Wednesday. The suburban county is the state’s third most populous.

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