The marriage of Joey Hateley and Hugo Vera is Ecuador's first legal gay and transgender union, the Spanish news agency EFE reported.

The two men married in a civil ceremony in Quito on Friday.

The pair were able to marry in the country that bans same-sex unions because Hateley transitioned from a woman to a man, but is legally considered a female.

The British-born Hateley, 35, is the artistic director of TransAction Theatre Company. Vera is a twenty-three-year-old Ecuadorian.

Vera said their marriage was not only an expression of love and commitment but also a “protest for the rights of gender identity.”

The ceremony was officiated by Councilor Norman Wray, the president of the Metropolitan Commission on Gender (Comision Metropolitana de Genero).

Their wedding “opens a perspective of non-discrimination, to achieve a society more tolerant and respectful of sexual diversity and the fight against homophobia,” Wray said.

Ana Almeida of the transgender group Proyecto Transgenero called the wedding unique because it is “the first gay marriage and the first transgender wedding, at the same time.”