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"Russian athletes Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova shared a kiss on the winners' podium at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on the weekend amid the controversy over their country's new anti-gay law."

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"UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - An "unholy alliance" of Iran, Russia, the Vatican and others is threatening to derail a U.N. declaration urging an end to violence against women and girls by objecting to language on sexual, reproductive and gay rights, some U.N. diplomats said Wednesday."
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According to the global index, there has been a notable decline in religiosity worldwide.

The U.S., France and Canada joined Ireland on the top-10 list of countries to have experienced a "notable decline in religiosity" since 2005.

The number of people in the U.S. who self-identify as religious dropped 13 points to 60 percent. In addition, 5 percent of Americans declared themselves atheists, an increase of 4 points since 2005.

Yet, despite this global decline in faith, the focus at the moment seems to be on Ireland, where Catholicism has had a long and rich tradition.

Since the poll results were made available to the public, many have lamented the drop in Ireland's religious feeling, with one Guardian writer calling it "the end of Catholic Ireland."
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A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down California's ban on same-sex marriage, clearing the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage as early as next year.
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For two years, a Mississippi blogger conducted a vitriolic “nightmare” campaign against two gay Nova Scotia men who operate a wilderness getaway near Kemptville ... consistently made graphic homophobic comments on his website, accused the two of all kinds of criminal acts and disparaged the small resort in the Tobeatic Wilderness reserve.
“It’s been a nightmare, I have to tell you,” an emotional Perret told the Toronto Star Thursday.
Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Hood agreed and this week awarded Leary and Perret $425,000 in damages — reported to be the largest defamation damage award in Nova Scotia history — and issued a permanent injunction against Handshoe.

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A new brain-scan study helps explain how psilocybin works — and why it holds promise as a treatment for depression, addiction and post-traumatic stress.

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"A Spanish judge came to an interesting conclusion in a case dealing with a seller of pirated copies. According to the judge the defendant doesn’t have to pay compensation to the rightsholders because it is not possible to determine to what extent piracy actually decreases sales. On the contrary, the judge suggests that piracy may even boost sales."

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VANCOUVER — A coalition of health, academic and law enforcement experts is calling for the legalization and regulation of marijuana, saying existing laws only drive the billion-dollar industry underground and fuel gang violence.
“The gang warfare that’s playing out on our streets is a natural consequence of cannabis prohibition.”
friendlystranger: (tolerance)
"The European Court of Human Rights condemned Russia on Thursday for letting Moscow ban gay pride marches simply because the city's then-mayor — who famously compared gays to the devil — and other officials disapproved of them.

The binding ruling means that Russia must ensure gay parades are freely held in its cities, and requires the country to pay organizers of gay pride events €29,510 ($41,300) for damages and court costs stemming from bans from 2006 to 2008.

The European Court of Human Rights said those marches were formally banned "to protect public order, health, morals and the rights and freedoms of others, as well as to prevent riots," but that the real reason was a dislike of gays and lesbians.

"The Moscow mayor had on many occasions expressed his determination to prevent gay parades, as he found them inappropriate," said the court.

It added the mayor "considered it necessary to confine every mention of homosexuality to the private sphere and to force gay men and lesbians out of the public eye, implying that homosexuality was a result of a conscious, and antisocial, choice."

It added, "there is no scientific evidence that the mere mention of homosexuality, or open public debate about sexual minorities' social status, would adversely affect children or 'vulnerable adults'."

In support of Moscow's gay parade bans, the Russian government argued that "gay propaganda was incompatible with religious doctrines and public morals," the court added.

It ruled that that these attitudes violate Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which says "everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly." It added the "mere risk of a demonstration creating a disturbance" was no good reason to ban a parade.
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