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Albania to legalize same-sex marriages

Duncan Ireland (R) and his husband John Ireland hold their son Watson Ireland, 4, as they join gay marriage supporters at a rally in response to the California Supreme Court's ruling on Proposition 8 in West Hollywood, California on May 26, 2009. The Irelands are among the same-sex couples whose marriage was upheld by the court. California's Supreme Court upheld the state's gay-marriage ban Tuesday but said the estimated 18,000 same-sex weddings that took place before the prohibition passed are still valid. (UPI Photo/Jim Ruymen). .
Duncan Ireland (R) and his husband John Ireland hold their son Watson Ireland, 4, as they join gay marriage supporters at a rally in response to the California Supreme Court's ruling on Proposition 8 in West Hollywood, California on May 26, 2009. The Irelands are among the same-sex couples whose marriage was upheld by the court. California's Supreme Court upheld the state's gay-marriage ban Tuesday but said the estimated 18,000 same-sex weddings that took place before the prohibition passed are still valid. (UPI Photo/Jim Ruymen). . | License Photo

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.

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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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