Estonia votes to allow gay civil partnerships

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The Estonian Parliament has narrowly passed legislation to legalise gay civil partnerships.

Today the bill, which recognises civil partnerships of both straight and gay couples, passed with 40 votes to 38. 23 members were absent for the vote.

The legislation will take effect in 2016, and will make Estonia the first former Soviet republic to allow civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

Human rights groups have commended the vote as “historic”, and have said they hoped it would send a message to Russia on the rights of LGBT citizens.

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