Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the former prime minister of Spain, called prohibiting gay couples from marriage “absurd.”

On Thursday, Zapatero spoke with students from the Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores de la UNAM (National School of Superior Studies) in Leon, the largest city in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.

He congratulated the lesbian couple from Leon who recently won a court ruling forcing Guanajuato officials to unite them in marriage.

“There is nothing more enriching to liberty than respect for every person's sexual orientation,” Zapatero said, according to El Universal.

Zapatero was in power when Spain legalized marriage for gay couples in 2006.

“The family is great in Spain and there are families of gay couples who have adopted children and give them a better chance at life and society has embraced them all,” he said.

“Homosexuals are not strangers, they are our friends, our family, our neighbors. They are just like us,” he added.