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Tiny Liechtenstein takes tiny step forward for gay rights

The tiny alpine microstate of Liechtenstein inched forward on gay rights after voters overwhelmingly approved a plan to allow gays to register their partnerships. This will put same-sex couples on equal footing with straight couples when it comes to taxation and inheritance rights. Gay couples still can’t adopt or receive medical reproduction assistance in Liechtenstein, but still, it’s baby steps.

Never heard of Liechtenstein? The miniature alpine tax haven is nestled between Switzerland and Austria and could probably fit inside your living room. The little monarchy is just 160 square kilometres (okay, slightly bigger than your living room, but smaller than Scarborough) and is home to about 35,000 people in 11 different towns. It’s also the richest country in the world on a per capita basis, so it might just be a great place to find a sugar daddy and register a domestic partnership with him.

Meanwhile, in the east and south of Europe, gay pride parades are taking small steps into the mainstream as local police are taking bigger steps to protect marchers from counter-demonstrators. It’s part of a push to normalize gay rights across the European Union, which has been frustrated by the lack of progress on gay freedom in some of its newer member and applicant states.

Unfortunately, in some of Eastern Europe’s non-EU states, progress on gay rights is slowing or going backward. Russia and Moldova both joined a group of largely Muslim and African states at the UN Human Rights Council to vote against a resolution calling for an end to persecution and discrimination against gays and lesbians. Russia’s most prominent gay rights activist, Nikolai Alexeyev, laments that too few out gay Russians are willing to use their names and faces to fight for their rights when they can hang out at Moscow’s gay clubs without straight people caring. 

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