Sunday, September 17, 2006

Public Privates

The happy couple - Photo EFE

Happiness triumphs in Seville, Spain as the first military wedding between men takes place on September 15.

Here's the scoop from


First gay military wedding in Spain
By h.b.
Sun, 17 Sep 2006

Spain’s Air Force has seen it’s first gay wedding. 27 year old Alberto Linero from Seville married 24 year old Alberto Sánchez from Madrid at a ceremony in Seville carried out by the city’s mayor, Alfredo Sánchez Monteseirín. He described the day as a dream made true and an answer to a demand from society at large for equality in diversity.

Congratulations to the grooms.


PS More details from the Baltimore Sun:

SEVILLE, Spain -- The Spanish military - once a remnant of a right-wing government closely linked to the Roman Catholic Church - got its first public taste of gay marriage last week as two male air force privates wed, sealing their union with gold rings and a long kiss.

Alberto Linero, 27, and Alberto Sanchez, 24, wore dark blue dress uniforms with red and gold epaulets as they exchanged vows in a reception room at Seville's town hall, the first known wedding among same-sex members of the military since Spain legalized gay marriage last year.

The men declined to say whether f they are being harassed by commanders or colleagues, but the Defense Ministry has said it considers the wedding a personal matter and that the men will be allowed to continue with their careers. It had no comment on the wedding.

Spain has no law against gays in the military, and other service members have acknowledged their homosexuality in the past.

In the United States, the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibits the military from inquiring about the sex lives of service members but requires those who openly acknowledge being gay to be discharged.

The men were married by Seville Mayor Alfredo Sanchez Monteseirin, who said their wedding marked a victory for gay people everywhere who have suffered from discrimination.

"This is not just your wedding. You symbolize millions of people who are not here and suffer from homophobia," Sanchez Monteseirin said. "The city will protect your rights."

After they were pronounced spouses, Linero and Sanchez placed gold rings on each other's fingers and kissed. The 100 people in attendance clapped wildly. Sanchez later wept as he hugged his younger brother Sergio.

The mayor is a member of the Socialist Party, which oversees a government that legalized gay marriage last year and has pushed through laws including fast-track divorce and easier terms for medically assisted fertilization.

The laws have irked the church and the country's conservative establishment, which has accused the government of eroding the nation's traditional values.

Addressing reporters after the ceremony, Linero said the wedding was a small step toward equality for homosexuals.

"We've done our little bit. We hope society realizes this," he said.

About 4,500 same-sex couples have wed under the gay marriage legislation, which took effect in July 2005, according to the Justice Ministry.

The wedding is believed to be the first marriage between two same-sex members of the Spanish armed forces, said Beatriz Gimeno, president of Spain's Federation of Gays and Lesbians.

She welcomed the wedding as something the military and Spaniards in general must get used to.

"I don't think the army in a democratic society has to be conservative," Gimeno said.

Besides Spain, the Netherlands, Canada and Belgium have legalized same-sex marriage. Britain and other European countries have laws that give same-sex couples the right to form legally binding partnerships.

In the United States, Massachusetts is the only state that allows gay marriage. Vermont and Connecticut permit civil unions.

Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun |,0,5443148.story?coll=bal-nationworld-headlines

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