As London Pride was being battered by torrential rain, our luckier Continental cousins were basking in the sunshine of Madrid summer’s day as they took to the streets to celebrate Europride.

Nearly fifty floats, one of them from Manchester, paraded through the streets of the Spanish capital accompanied by an estimated two million revellers. The parade was followed by a free concert.

The Pride event also coincided with the 30th anniversary of the first gay rights protests in Spain.

The country has moved more rapidly on gay rights than many of its EU partners, with gay marriage introduced in 2005 – a right that more than 3,000 couples have taken advantage of so far.

Public support for gay rights remains high, with a survey last year finding 61% supporting gay marriage.

Politicians hailed the success of Europride, which was held in London last year.

“Now Europe. Equality is possible,” was the slogan.

The Culture Minister, Carmen Calvo, to AFP:

“We are very proud to receive the rest of Europe. Today Spain is an example of advanced democracy. We must fight homophobia and reactionary attitudes.”

The next Europride will be held in Stockholm in August 4th 2008.