Canada was the first country to grant gays the right to marry without any qualifications — finding that any distinctions made in granting legal freedoms to gays would violate the constitution. Belgium and Holland were next, but their laws were more restrictive, not allowing gay families to adopt. Then Spain came along, with language as liberal as Canada, giving gays and lesbians complete equality.
On this day, July 3, in 2005 by a vote of 187-147 Spain legalized same-sex marriage. “Today, Spanish society is responding to a group of people who have been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, their dignity offended, their identity denied and their freedom restricted,” Prime Minister José Luis Rodíguez Zapatero told Parliament.
The closeness of the vote showed that many on Spain were still strongly opposed to gay marriage. The most vocal group came from the Catholic Church, with the archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Ricard María Carlés Gordó, comparing government workers opposing the law but agreeing to carry it out to concentration camp workers, who “believed that they had to obey the laws of the Nazi government before their own conscience.”