Albania to legalize same-sex marriages

July 30, 2009 at 11:16 AM
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TIRANA, Albania, July 30 (UPI) -- Albania is considering legalization of same-sex marriages to become the first country in southeastern Europe to give equal the rights to homosexual couples.

About 20 years ago Albania was an orthodox communist country where being a homosexual could lead to a prison sentence of 10 years.

The Albanian parliament plans to consider a draft bill on same-sex marriages that would place the country among a handful of European nations that recognize gay marriages, the English-language Albanian Daily News said Thursday.

Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said Tirana authorities support same-sex marriages, the Serbian news agency Beta reported.

The law would abolish discrimination and open the way to civil marriages of homosexuals although it could trigger heated debate in parliament and strong reactions among the public in the predominantly Muslim country, Berisha said.

He warned there is certain level of intolerance in the country and called on Albanians to respect the standards of other European countries, Beta said.

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