J. Lester Feder
RIGA, Latvia — The Estonian Parliament narrowly passed legislation that would give legal protections to same-sex couples on Thursday, positioning it to become the first former Soviet country to recognize these unions.
The legislation, called the Cohabitation Act, allows both same-sex and opposite-sex couples to register to receive almost all the benefits of marriage, though it restricts some adoption rights. The bill passed on a vote of 40 to 38, with several abstentions. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves announced on Twitter that he had signed the law, which will take effect in 2016.
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