MADRID, Spain – At the historic Congress of Deputies, pandemonium erupted. Conservatives shouted in fury. Gay activists collapsed in tears. Some began making wedding plans – or at least deciding who’d pop the question, now that they could.
The 350-seat Congress of Deputies, by a vote of 187-147 with four abstentions, approved the measure to give homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual ones, including the right to adopt children.
Inside the stately 19th-century chamber where other chapters of Spanish history have been written, several conservative Popular Party members rose and yelled: “This is a disgrace.”
Outside, activists jumped for joy and waved rainbow flags symbolizing the international gay rights movement.
Gay couples can get married as soon as the law is published in the official government registry – as early as today.
The Netherlands and Belgium are the only other two countries that recognize gay marriage nationwide. The Netherlands lets gays adopt children.
Canada’s House of Commons passed legislation Tuesday that would legalize gay marriage by the end of July as long as the Senate also passes the bill, which it is expected to do.
In the United States, Massachusetts is the only state to recognize gay marriage. Vermont and Connecticut have approved same-sex civil unions.