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Four Days, Three Big Steps For Gay Rights In The UK, U.S. And France



PARIS - Gay marriage rights are gaining momentum around the world. In the last four days, three countries have each taken a major step toward expanding marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Though the legislative process is just beginning, the French National Assembly approved a centerpiece bill on Saturday to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. This comes amidst vocal opposition to the initiative President Francois Hollande's socialist governement – Catholic organizations picketed the French Parliament, after some 340,000 demonstrators marched in the streets of Paris on Jan 27.

Inside the Parliament – and most of all on Twitter – France's legislators continued to battle over the proposed changes, including amendments to allow gay couples access to adoption and assisted reproductive technology (ART).

#DirectAN @chtaubira explique à l'opposition que leur amendement est un recul pour les familles hétéroparentales. Silence sur leurs bancs...

— Corinne Narassiguin (@CorinneNara) 5 février 2013

Translation: "Christine Taubira explains to the opposition that their amendment is a step back for heterosexual families too. The opposition stays silent.."

#directAN #MariageGay. L'article 1 est voté ouvrantà terme PMA et GPA . Triste moment . Pas ma conception de l" Homme et de la société .

— Philippe GOSSELIN (@phgosselin) 2 février 2013

Translation: "The first article has been ratified, leading to ART and surrogacy. Sad moment. Not my idea of what mankind or society should be."

French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who introduced the legislation, did manage to provide a bit of levity. Having made a racy play on words as she addressed Parliament, Taubira began to laugh...and laugh...and....then find her seat:

The British House of Commons on Tuesday voted 400 to 175 to approve a draft law allowing gay marriage. There were a fair share of lively remarks too, but Prime Minister David Cameron concluded: “There are strong views on both side of the argument - I accept that. But I think this is an important step forward for our country.”

David Cameron: "I'm a marriage man... now two gay people who love each other can get married." #PMQs live: bbc.in/14RElMW

— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) February 6, 2013

Here is the House of Commons' reaction to the final vote:


The Associated Press is reporting another major step forward for same-sex couples in the United States military. Some 16 months after the Pentagon repealed its ban on openly gay service, the military is poised to extend some benefits to the same-sex partners of service members. Among the benefits being considered are access to the on-base commissary and other military subsidized stores, as well as some health and welfare programs.

A potential win for Gay rights. Military to expand benefits to same-sex couples. fb.me/2hKDi5AoQ

— athousandlittlewars (@athousandlittle) February 6, 2013

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

What Are Iran's Real Intentions? Watch What The Houthis Do Next

Three commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea were attacked by missiles launched by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels, while the U.S. Navy shot down three drones. Tensions that are linked to the ongoing war in Gaza conflict and that may serve as an indication as to Iran's wider intentions.

photo of Raisi of iran speaking in parliament

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.

Icana News Agency via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — It’s a parallel war that has so far claimed fewer victims and attracted less public attention than the one in Gaza. Yet it increasingly poses a serious threat of escalating at any time.

This conflict playing out in the international waters of the Red Sea, a strategic maritime route, features the U.S. Navy pitted against Yemen's Houthi rebels. But the stakes go beyond the Yemeni militants — with the latter being supported by Iran, which has a hand in virtually every hotspot in the region.

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Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Houthis have been making headlines, despite Yemen’s distance from the Gaza front. Starting with missiles launched directed toward southern Israel, which were intercepted by U.S. forces. Then came attacks on ships belonging, or suspected of belonging, to Israeli interests.

On Sunday, no fewer than three commercial ships were targeted by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea. The missiles caused minor damage and no casualties. Meanwhile, three drones were intercepted and destroyed by the U.S. Navy, currently deployed in full force in the region.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for these attacks, stating their intention to block Israeli ships' passage for as long as there was war in Gaza. The ships targeted on Sunday were registered in Panama, but at least one of them was Israeli. In the days before, several other ships were attacked and an Israeli cargo ship carrying cars was seized, and is still being held in the Yemeni port of Hodeida.

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