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Friday, 16 January, 1998, 02:46 GMT
Dutch lesbians tie the knot

Two Dutch lesbian couples have been joined as legal partners under new rules which clear the way for full civil marriage rights for gay people in the Netherlands.

Same-sex couples now have all the legal rights enjoyed by married heterosexual people -- except joint adoption of children.

A majority of Dutch MPs have already voted in favour of dropping this restriction, and correspondents say the government will present plans in May for the introduction of full gay marriage.

Several other European countries already have laws giving gay partners legal status.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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