The first gay couple to register to marry in Uruguay when a new equal marriage law took effect on 5 August, have married as gay rights activists celebrate in the country.

Sergio Miranda and Rodrigo Borda married in Montevideo on Thursday accompanied by 30 friends and family, and around a hundred members of the media.

“While in Russia they incite violence and hunt us down and kill us like the Nazi regime, in Uruguay we can get married. We can celebrate love. So I’m very happy to live in a country like Uruguay and not like Russia,” Miranda is quoted as saying by the AFP.

The couple met in 1999 during the Night of Nostalgia, Uruguay’s annual celebration held on 24 August, and reports say that the couple have “never parted” since.

The couple are technically the second to marry, as the first were a gay couple in their 60s, one of whom is terminally ill, and were given a waiver allowing them to marry on 5 August when the law officially took effect. Their wedding took place in a Montevideo hospital, and a witness described it as “very special”.

The country became the twelfth in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in May after President Jose Mujica signed the measure into law.

The reform was passed by Congress in April with overwhelming support.

Argentina became the first Latin American country to allow same-sex couples to marry in 2010.

In May, the council that oversees Brazil’s judiciary said it was wrong for marriage licences to be denied to same-sex couples.

However, full legalisation concerning equal marriage in Brazil still depends on the passage of a law in Congress.

“This is the equivalent of authorising homosexual marriage in Brazil,” Raquel Pereira de Castro Araujo, head of the human rights committee of the Brazilian bar association told the AFP news agency at the time.