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Last Updated: Monday, 11 July, 2005, 21:16 GMT 22:16 UK
First gay marriage held in Spain
The couple displaying their certificate
Many Spanish gay couples have said they want to tie the knot
Two Spanish men have become the first gay couple to be married since a new law allowing same-sex marriages.

Emilio Menendez, a Spaniard, and Carlos Baturin German, from the US, tied the knot at a ceremony just outside Madrid.

The couple have been together for 30 years. After the event, Mr German said: "Today we are even more a family."

Spain is the third European nation, after the Netherlands and Belgium, to legalise same-sex marriages. The law allows gay couples to adopt children.

'Wonderful day'

The wedding ceremony in the town of Tres Cantos was attended by family friends and journalists - as well as Pedro Zerolo, the governing Socialist Party's top official for social issues.

State television showed footage of the couple smiling and displaying their wedding rings.

Today is yet another wonderful day
Emilio Menendez

"The happiest day of our lives was when we fell in love with each other. We have been together for 30 years, there have been many wonderful days, today is yet another wonderful day," said Mr Menendez.

Mr Zerolo said a dream had become reality, as the dignity of homosexuals had been recognised.

Spain's lower house of parliament voted in favour of the bill on 30 June, overruling its rejection by the upper house, the Senate.

Polls suggest most Spaniards back the move, although thousands joined a Madrid rally against the bill before it was passed.

A Roman Catholic group had presented MPs with a 600,000-signature petition opposing the legislation and were lobbying hard for a referendum on the issue.

And some of Spain's local mayors have said they will not officiate at gay marriages.

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