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Marco Rubio comes to the defense of gay men in Chechnya in a fiery speech.

'We should never, ever tolerate human rights violations against any person for their political views, their religious beliefs, or their sexual orientation.'

Marco Rubio comes to the defense of gay men in Chechnya in a fiery speech.

Marco Rubio surprised everyone when he took a stand for LGBTQ rights.

On April 24, 2017, the Florida Republican — who's been panned by human rights groups in the U.S. for his anti-LGBTQ stances on various issues, including marriage equality and same-sex adoption — used his time on the Senate floor to blast Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov for the republic's heinous acts against gay and bisexual men.

The speech makes Rubio the first senator (Republican or otherwise) to use the spotlight of the Senate floor to call out the inexcusable violations of human rights in Chechnya, which is part of the Russian federation.


Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

A Russian newspaper reported earlier this month that Chechnya law enforcement had quietly detained at least 100 men with "nontraditional" sexual orientations and has since starved, tortured, and even killed multiple victims.

“Unfortunately this is not a new reality for those living under the brutal tyranny of the Chechen leader, who, by the way, happens to be a loyal ally of Vladimir Putin," Rubio told his fellow senators.

Rubio continued:

"There have been reports in the past of similar abuses, although these reports seem to be the most brutal and should provoke anger in all of us. We should never, ever tolerate human rights violations against any person for their political views, their religious beliefs, or their sexual orientation.”

Since the first explosive report from a Moscow newspaper covering the abuses went viral, more disturbing information has trickled out of Chechnya. Several prisons have been created explicitly to detain gay and bisexual men, authorities refuse to publicly acknowledge LGBTQ people even exist in their republic, and one British leader alleged he's heard that Chechen authorities hope to "eliminate" its gay population by the end of May.

“The United States and other responsible nations should do more to ensure that all people are protected, and those who harm them are held responsible," Rubio concluded. "We should use our voice on the global stage to call attention to these horrifying acts and to ensure that they are condemned in an appropriate way, and ultimately in the hopes that they will be stopped.”

Watch a clip of Rubio's speech below:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

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