Eighteen couples have registered to marry in Montevideo, Uruguay since a gay marriage law went into effect on Monday, August 5.

The earliest one of these couples can exchange vows is August 16.

The first couple to register in the nation's capital was Sergio Miranda and Rodrigo Borda.

“We're celebrating and sharing because this law marks that we all have rights, no first- and second-class citizens, that's what we're celebrating today,” Miranda told reporters. “It is a very important message that Uruguay is sending to the world today.”

The men met in 1999 during a Noche de la Nostalgia (Night of Nostalgia), Uruguay's annual August 24 celebration in which thousands of people cram into bars to dance the night away to the hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Since that night, Miranda told Spanish news agency Efe, we have “never parted.”

According to Subrayado, the nation's first marriage took place on Monday. The couple, identified as male and in their 60s, was given a waiver to marry on the day the law took effect because one of the men is terminally ill. The wedding – which one official described as “very special” – took place in a Montevideo hospital.

Two additional couples registered in Melo and one in Young.