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New Zealand poised to legalize same sex marriage

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New Zealand is poised to legalise same-sex marriage in a parliamentary vote that gay rights advocates Tuesday said will represent a milestone in the struggle for equality.

A bill that amends the 1955 Marriage Act to describe marriage as “a union of two people regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity” will have its third and final reading in parliament on Wednesday.

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The proposal is set to pass comfortably after receiving widespread support during two previous debates — including backing from Prime Minister John Key — with the most recent vote last month running at 77 votes for and 43 against.

LegaliseLove Wellington co-ordinator Joseph Habgood said gay venues in the capital’s nightclub strip planned to screen the vote live and host parties marking the occasion.

“This will make a huge difference,” he told AFP. “Not only for couples who want to get married but also for young people who are struggling with their sexuality.

“This is parliament sending a message saying ‘you matter, you are equal’.”

The lawmaker behind the reform is Louisa Wall, an openly gay member of the centre-left Labour Party who argues the institution of marriage needs to be updated to be more inclusive.

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“For me, if two people love each other and marry and commit to each other for the rest of their lives, it should be something we all celebrate,” she said after submitting the bill last year.

However, there has been opposition to the move, including from the conservative Family First group, which accuses politicians of undermining traditional male-female marriage under pressure from the gay lobby.

“The definition of marriage should stay as traditionally and commonly conceived, not one manipulated by politics and political correctness,” Family First co-ordinator Bob McCoskrie said.

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GOP senator blows off new evidence against Trump — days after whining that there was no new evidence

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An explosive report from ABC News on Friday morning detailed an audio recording purportedly of President Donald Trump demanding the firing of Marie Yovanovitch, in which the president instructs his henchmen to "get rid of her" and "take her out."

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), when asked by reporters about this new evidence Friday afternoon, blew it off as not a big deal.

"There will be new evidence every day!" he said in shrugging off the purported recording of the president. "There will be something new that comes out every day!"

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McConnell is running a ‘scam’ to keep Bolton from testifying so Trump’s trial can end without any more damage: columnist

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According to Greg Sargent at the Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to pull one over on the Democrats in his attempt to make sure former national security adviser John Bolton doesn't speak during the impeachment trial of Donald Trump -- and that Democrats should call his bluff.

Noting a CNN report that states, "A growing number of Republicans are pointing to President Donald Trump's threat to invoke executive privilege in order to make their case against subpoenas sought by Democrats for key witnesses and documents, a development that could bolster Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's goal of a swift end to the impeachment trial," as an excuse to keep Bolton at arms-length from testifying, the Wapo columnist said executive privilege may not be the stop-gap Republicans think it is.

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‘Jury tampering’: Internet explodes after WH threatens that senators’ heads ‘will be on a pike’ if they vote to convict

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The news was so shocking some thought it was fake. But as CBS News reports, the White House is threatening Republican Senators to not vote to convict President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial, or else.

That "or else" was revealed by CBS News' Chief Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes, who reports, "One Trump confidant tells CBS News that GOP senators have been warned: 'Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.'"

The revelation comes at the 1:17 mark:

In opening statements, House managers examined the debunked conspiracy theories invoked by Pres. Trump.

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