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Andorra, One of World's Smallest Countries, to Pass Marriage Equality


The tiny European nation is preparing to make LGBTQ history.

Andorra may soon welcome marriage equality.

One of the world's smallest nations -- the population is about 77,000 -- already has civil unions. But now the ruling government coalition has drafted a bill that would also recognize same-sex marriage, reports Gay Star News.

"From the entry into force of this law, the Andorran legal system will recognize two forms of marriages, civil marriage, to which both gay couples like heterosexual couples, and canonical marriage," reads a draft of the bill.

The bill is likely to become law by summer, as the 2014 law recognizing civil unions passed by a large margin in Andorra's General Council (20-3). A 2013 poll from the Institut d'Estudis Andorrans found that a majority of Andorrans, 70 percent, supported same-sex marriage.

Andorra's civil unions already afford the same rights to same-sex couples, but marriage will offer greater legal and societal clarity of equality, said Ester Molne, a Democratic counselor. Additionally, the country's LGBTQ community has been calling for the change.

"The term 'civil union' was confusing, especially when it was necessary to register in foreign civil registries, which were not always recognized and therefore the affected couple could not be registered," said Molne.

The tiny European nation, which borders France and Spain, is a diarchy -- meaning it is ruled by two princes. Oddly, neither of these princes resides in Andorra. By law, these princes are whoever happens to be the French president and the Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Urgell in Catalonia, a region of Spain.

One of these princes must approve the legislation -- although Emmanuel Macron, France's current president, is unlikely to object.

In Andorra, it is illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of sexual orientation, and gay sex was decriminalized in 1791. However, transgender Andorrans still lack protection in discrimination and hate-crime laws, and there is still no route to change a person's legal gender.

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