Friday, August 12, 2005

Spain allows gays to wed foreigners

Spain's justice ministry ruled this week that citizens can marry a same-sex partner who is foreign, even if that person's home country would not legally recognize the marriage.

The ruling was published Monday in the Official State Bulletin, according to international news reports.

The action resolves the first snag in Spain's new law allowing same-sex couples to marry. Last month a gay Spanish man was denied the right to marry his Indian partner when a court in the northeastern Catalonia region ruled that the union would not be acceptable because India does not permit same-sex marriages.

The country's justice ministry overruled, however, saying, "a marriage between a Spaniard and a foreigner, or between foreigners of the same sex resident in Spain, shall be valid as a result of applying Spanish material law, even if the foreigner's national legislation does not allow or recognize the validity of such marriages."

Despite heavy opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, Spain legalized same-sex marriage at the end of June.

Spain is one of four countries that grant full marriage rights to same-sex couples; the others are Belgium, Canada and the Netherlands.