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A Missouri pastor delivers an impassioned speech before the Springfield City Council in which he appears to be making the case against amending the city's nondiscrimination ordinance to add protection for sexual orientation and gender identity. But then, something unexpected happens. A Missouri pastor delivered a speech before the Springfield City Council in which he appeared to be making a case against gay marriage. But then something wonderful happened.

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A 21-year-old U.S. soldier stationed in Germany called his dad Tuesday morning to tell him that he is gay, and he filmed the entire exchange.

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President Barack Obama represents the final stop for a measure, passed by the Senate on Thursday, that would expand the definition of hate crimes to include "those committed because of a victim’s gender or gender identity, sexual orientation or disability," as The New York Times put it. Obama is expected to approve the legislation.

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The House has voted to strengthen the definition of hate crimes to include those carried out on the basis of a person's sexual orientation, marking a step toward protecting gay, lesbian and transgender people under the federal statute. The bill still needs to go through the Senate and be signed by President Obama.

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Watching the couples in line for licenses in Beverly Hills on the first day of gay marriage in California, I was struck by how the scene was so commonplace, even boring -- just a bunch of men and women waiting their turn at a nondescript government office.

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This'll no doubt create some semantic confusion among religious leaders and congregations alike, but the U.K.-based Movement for Reform Judaism is issuing a new prayer book that eschews gender-specific references to the Supreme Being. It might be a hard sell, considering the results of a survey that the Jewish group conducted in anticipation of the unconventional release.

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