Spain–once a bastion of Catholic culture and commitment–has now embraced same-sex marriage. “Spain became the third country to legalize gay marriage Thursday in a parliament vote that left gay activists blowing kisses to lawmakers and the powerful Catholic Church issuing veiled calls for defiance,” reported the Associated Press.
From the same news story: “It is a historic day for the world’s homosexuals. We have been fighting for many years,” said Beatriz Gimeno, a longtime leader of the gay rights movement in Spain. “Now comes the hardest part, which is changing society’s mentality.” The report added that Gimeno “blinked back tears as she hugged her partner, Boti Garcia.”

Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar, who is gay, said: “I don’t like marriage. I am not going to get married. But it is important for this to be called marriage so people know that it is the same thing for everyone.”

Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodíguez Zapatero told the nation’s Parliament, “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.”

The New York Times counts four nations that have now legalized same-sex marriage, with Canada and Spain acting in this very week, joining Belgium and the Netherlands. The paper argues that the Canadian and Spanish laws are especially permissive. Who’s next?