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Last Updated: Friday, 19 March, 2004, 02:37 GMT
Spain 'to approve gay marriages'
Prime Minister elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
Zapatero had made a campaign pledge on the subject
Spanish Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says he is in favour of allowing same-sex marriages.

His government will draft a law to put gay unions and marriage on an equal footing, he told Spain's Telecinco television channel on Thursday.

He said same-sex marriage was a characteristic of a "modern and tolerant society".

The conservative outgoing government of the Popular Party had rejected several calls to allow same-sex marriages.

Mr Zapatero swept to a surprise victory in general elections held on Sunday.

Legalising gay unions was one of his campaign pledges.

In the interview he did not set a time-frame for the change.

Spain is an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country and the Vatican condemns same-sex marriages.

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