The US-based Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) hopes to open a congregation in Madrid, Spain, this year to perform same-sex weddings.

Spain legalised gay marriage in 2005 and the law gives faiths the right to carry out the ceremonies if they wish.

As the Roman Catholic Church in Spain fiercely opposes equal marriage rights, the MCC will be the first church in the country to hold gay weddings.

According to AFP, El Mundo newspaper reports that a Spanish-born lesbian couple living in Canada came to Madrid to register an MCC congregation with the justice ministry.

One of the pair, Raquel Benitez, told the paper: “We are the first (gay) church in Spain.

“There are Christian groups that want to establish some type of (gay) religious organisation but they have neither the importance nor the international support that MCC has.

“We want to fill a gap that exists, a spiritual gap for homosexuals, for transsexuals and for any person that does not have a feel for other religions.”

The MCC specifically reaches out to LGBT families and has more than 300 churches and 43,000 members around the world. It hopes to open the Madrid congregation in October.

The church, along with Quakers, Unitarians and liberal synagogues, has also declared its interest in holding religious ceremonies for gay couples in the UK.