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||Belgium approves same-sex marriage
Thursday, January 30, 2003 / 04:03 PM
On Thursday, Belgium became the second country in the world -- after the Netherlands -- to legally recognize gay marriages.
According to the Associated Press, lawmakers in the House of Representatives approved the measure by a 91-22 vote, after the bill had already passed in the Senate.
"It makes it clear that any enduring and loving relationship is appreciated in the same way in our modern society," said Kristien Grauwels, a Green Party member in the ruling coalition.
The new law, unlike its counterpart in the Netherlands, does not allow same-sex married couples to adopt children.
"It still was a step too far for several parties," Grauwels said, referring to the other political groups in the government coalition.
Like other European nations, Belgium had already granted limited legal protections to same-sex unions, including tax and property rights. The new law's expansion of those rights was celebrated as a "breakthrough" by many.
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