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Large Gay-Pride Rallies Take Place In Bulgaria, Romania, Elsewhere

LGBT supporters march in Bucharest on June 9.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Europe and elsewhere for gay pride rallies to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, with marchers assailing all types of discrimination.

Major European rallies were reported on June 9 in Britain, France, Italy, Greece, Latvia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland.

June is recognized as LGBT Pride month in much of the world, and most of the events were reported to be peaceful and to have taken place in a festival-like atmosphere.

In the Romanian capital, Bucharest, about 3,000 supporters marched through the city center, with many celebrating a ruling by the European Court of Justice last week in favor of a gay Romanian man's right to have his U.S. husband live with him in Romania.

Romania does not recognize same-sex marriage and had argued that the United States was not entitled to EU residency rights awarded to spouses.

In the Polish capital, Warsaw, tens of thousands marched for the annual Equality Parade to protest discrimination against the LGBT community but also bias against women, ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities.

Organizers said 45,000 people attended, although city officials put the figure at about half that number.

A Baltic Pride parade in Latvia's capital, Riga, included participants from fellow Baltic states Estonia and Lithuania, with organizers saying 8,000 people took part.

Thousands of people rallied in Sofia to demand the legalization of same-sex marriage, although the event was condemned by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as a "demonstration of sin."

Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Latvia among European nations do not legally recognize same-sex couples.

In Rome, thousands marched for gay pride just days after Italy's new families minister angered activists by saying that homosexual families "don't exist."

In Israel, the Tel Aviv municipality said more than 250,000 people celebrated at the city's 20th Gay Pride Parade, an event that draws people from around the world.

Rallies were also held in many U.S. cities, including Boston, Washington, and San Francisco.

Smaller counterrallies were also reported. In Sofia, protesters gathered with their children outside the parliament building, with some holding signs stating: "For healthy values, families, and society!"

With reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa
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