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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’.”

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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.

“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.

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“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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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump aides desperately try to downplay ‘order’ to US companies to leave China

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Donald Trump's top aides on Sunday downplayed the idea of US companies being forced to abandon China any time soon, as an edict from the president ordering businesses to start looking for alternatives has been met with skepticism.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economics advisor Larry Kudlow took to the airwaves from France, where Trump is participating in the G7 summit, to smooth out tensions in the business community prompted by Trump's Friday tweet.

Trump said he has "no plan now" to bring US companies in line, and his aides quickly reinforced the message.

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Trump sparks confusion at G7 before doubling down on China tariffs

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President Donald Trump doubled down Sunday on his hard line against China after sowing confusion with statements that he might be willing to soften a trade war G7 partners fear threatens the world economy.

At the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump announced a major trade deal with Japan and promised more of the same with Britain, once Brexit is done.

But the positives were overshadowed by a mix-up over his apparent expression of regret for the latest escalation in the US-China dispute.

"I have second thoughts about everything," he conceded to reporters when asked if he regretted his decision on Friday to ramp up tariffs on all Chinese imports, worth some $550 billion, in retaliation for Beijing's earlier hike of levies on US goods.

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G7 wrestles with Iran, Amazon fires and trade, but own unity shaky

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G7 leaders close their summit Monday with discussion of world problems including the fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest, but overshadowed by President Donald Trump's trade wars and questions over the group's unity.

The summit in Biarritz, a high-end surfers' paradise in southwestern France, saw a dramatic shift of focus Saturday when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif flew in to discuss the diplomatic deadlock on Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.

Zarif's presence had not been expected and it represented a gamble by French host Emmanuel Macron who is seeking to soothe spiralling tensions between Iran and the United States.

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