Spain's gay marriage law turned five on
July 3. Passage of the law in the Roman Catholic nation turned Spain
into a gay rights leader. Since then, 10,317 male couples and 5,063
female couples have married, 1.55% of the nation's total marriages,
Madrid-based daily El Pais reported.
The Socialist government of Prime
Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero approved the law over the
objections of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict has called on
Spanish Catholics to reject gay marriage.
In 2005, only three nations – the
Netherlands, Canada and Belgium – had legalized gay marriage. Five
years later, Sweden, Iceland, South Africa, and Portugal have joined
Lawmakers in Argentina
will consider a gay marriage law on July 14.
Emilio Menendez and Carlos Baturin,
partnered for 30 years, became the first couple to wed on July 11.
Five years later, the men say the law
has revolutionized the way people view their relationship.
“Average people perceive being gay as
something normal,” Baturin, a psychiatrist originally from New
Baturin added that marriage has allowed
him to grow closer to his husband's family.
Menendez, 55, says the was proud to be
a Spaniard on the day lawmakers approved the law.
“That's why I'm optimistic,” he
says. “If you told me when I met Carlos that one day I would be
able to marry him, I would have answered that neither my children or
grandchildren would see that day.”
The struggle for equality in Spain
faced a steep incline. The regime of Francisco Franco shipped off
gay men and lesbians to institutions, likened by some activists to
concentration camps. Being gay was decriminalized in 1979, shortly
after the dictator's death.