Luxembourg approves same sex marriage

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LUXEMBOURG (AP) — Lawmakers in Luxembourg, whose prime minister is openly gay, overwhelmingly approved changes in the small European nation's legislation governing marriage on Wednesday that will allow people of the same sex to wed and to adopt children.

The Chamber of Deputies voted 56-4 to adopt the bill, which is said to be part of the most fundamental rewrite of Luxembourg's laws on marriage since 1804. The chamber's website said the new rules could take effect in early 2015, or six months after their official publication.

The Human Rights Campaign, a U.S.-based organization in favor of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, commended Luxembourg on its decision.

Under the reform, Luxembourg's legislators also fixed the legal age for marriage at 18 and dropped existing legal requirements for a pre-wedding medical exam, as well as the 300-day waiting period that had been imposed on widows or widowers before they could remarry. To combat forced marriages, the lawmakers provided for fines and prison terms.

Xavier Bettel, who became Luxembourg's prime minister in December, is openly gay.

Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay allow same-sex marriage nationwide. The United States, the United Kingdom and Mexico allow it in some regions.

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