Despite it being a predominantly Catholic country, most in Spain believe that introducing gay marriage was right.

A survey by the Instituto Opina polling organisation found that 61 per cent of those questioned agreed with the statement: “Do you agree or disagree with the government’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage.”

On June 30th 2004, Spanish minister of justice Juan Fernando López Aguilar announced a government plan for legislation to extend the right to marriage to same-sex couples. This would fulfil a promise made by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero the day of his inauguration.

At the same time, Señor López announced a proposition (introduced by the Convergència i Unió party) to introduce legal status for both opposite- and same-sex common-law unions (parejas de hecho, “de facto unions”), and another to permit transgendered people to legally change their name and sex designation without the requirement of surgery.

The bill on same-sex marriage was approved by the Cabinet on October 1st 2004. It was submitted to Parliament on December 31 st, and passed by the lower house on April 21st 2005. However, the bill was rejected by the Senate on June 22 nd 2005. It then returned to the lower house, which has an override power at its disposal, and on June 30 th 2005, the lower house gave final approval to the bill with 187 yes, 147 no and four abstentions.

With the final approval of the law on July 2nd 2005 including royal assent and publication in the Boletín Oficial del Estado-Spain became the third country in the world to formally legalize same-sex marriages nationwide, after the Netherlands and Belgium.

The first same-sex wedding took place eight days after the approval of the law. It was celebrated in the council chamber in the Madrid suburb of Tres Cantos. Carlos Baturin and Emilio Menéndez were the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Spain.

Some information within this article was adapted from information on Wikipedia under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License