|Spain's first gay marriage, July 2005|
Over 20,000 marriages between July 2005 and December 2011
MADRID Same-sex marriages, a manifesto priority of the PSOE at the elections that brought in José Luis R. Zapatero for a second term in 2008, became legal in Spain seven years ago, but the party then in opposition and now in power, PP, sent it for scrutiny to the Constitutional Court alleging that it infringed Article 32 of the Constitution. The principal allegation was that marriage of people of the same sex 'de-natured' the basic institution of marriage as it has been understood until now. There have been>>>22,442 same-sex marriages in Spain since the new Civil Code came into being in 2005, of which 897 have ended in divorce or separation, according to the National Institute of Statistics. The annual numbers have remained fairly constant: between 3,000 and 4,000.
While the Spanish Church still forbids it, gay and lesbian marriages are held in Town Halls all over the country, where any Councillor can officiate and therefore make the union legal. Most if not all of those who were married this way were waiting anxiously for the court's verdict; when it came down, there were celebrations in the streets of many cities, particularly when the PP, now in government, announced that it would no longer pursue the issue and had no plans to change the 2005 law.