First gay couples take advantge of marriage law

4th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

4 July 2005, MADRID — Gay couples took the first steps to get married after new law allowing same-sex unions comes into force.

4 July 2005

MADRID — Gay couples took the first steps to get married after new law allowing same-sex unions comes into force.

Three couples in Madrid went to a registry office in the capital with their paperwork so they can get married.

But gay rights campaigner Beatriz Gimeno, president of the Federation of Gays, Lesbians and Transsexuals, said the first weddings would probably be held in small towns where civil servants have less paperwork to deal with.

One couple who plan to marry, Carlos and Emilio, who are both Americans, said: "We are proud to live in this country."

A couple for 30 years, they may be one of the first to marry in Madrid.

Last week, Spain's lower house of parliament voted in favour of allowing gay couples to marry and adopt children.

The controversial decision overruled the rejection of the bill by the upper house, the Senate.

The bill became law on Sunday, making Spain Europe's third nation after the Netherlands and Belgium to allow same sex marriages.

A Roman Catholic group had presented MPs with a 600,000-signature petition opposing the legislation.

The Family Forum group had called for a referendum on the issue.

They urged conservative deputies to take legal action to have gay marriages declared unconstitutional.

Public opinion polls suggest that although the majority of Spaniards describe themselves as Catholic they are in favour of gay marriages.

The leaders of Spain's Roman Catholic Church strongly opposed the bill. Some have even likened the proposal to introducing a virus into Spanish society.

The new law puts same-sex and heterosexual marriages on the same legal footing, including the right to adopt children.

About 5,000 gay couples in Spain have announced they are queuing up to say 'I do'.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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