First gay marriage in Spain takes place

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Monday, July 11, 2005

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Emilio Menendez, a Spaniard, and Carlos Baturin German, an American, became the first gay couple to be married under a new law allowing same-sex marriage in Spain. The couple tied the knot in the town of Tres Cantos, outside of Madrid. Wedding guests included family and friends, as well as journalists and politician Pedro Zerolo, the governing Socialist Party's top official for social issues.

Spain is only the third nation in Europe to legalise same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands and Belgium. The bill was passed by the lower house of Parliament on 30 June 2005, overruling a rejection by the upper house, the Senate. Although the move was opposed by Roman Catholic groups, polls suggest that a majority of Spaniards support the decision. There were protests in Madrid prior to the bill being passed, and a Roman Catholic group submitted a 600,000-signature petition urging a referendum.

State run television broadcast images of the happy couple after the ceremony. Menendez told reporters, "The happiest day of our lives was when we fell in love with each other. We have been together for 30 years, there have been many wonderful days, today is yet another wonderful day."

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