Two more countries have legalised gay marriage in the last week, despite considerable opposition.

In the face of vehement condemnation by conservatives and the Catholic Church, Spain’s parliament legalised same-sex unions in the largely Roman Catholic country. This makes Spain the third nation in the world to do so.

The new legislation, passed by 187 to 147 votes, allows lesbian and gay couples to adopt children and also gives them full inheritance rights. The vote took place in the Congress of Deputies, which is dominated by the ruling socialists. The law is expected to be published in the government registry within days, thereafter officially allowing gay couples to marry.

Gay marriage also came a step closer to reality in Canada this week when same-sex marriage laws were passed by Parliament’s House of Commons on Tuesday.

The legislation still needs to be approved by the Senate to become legal across the country, but this is expected to take place towards the end of July. Some Canadian states have already legalised same-sex unions within their borders.

The Netherlands and Belgium are the only two other countries that already allow lesbian and gay marriages. A number of other countries recognise same-sex partnerships to some degree or another, including Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Germany, France, Luxembourg and New Zealand.

Legislation will come into force in Britain in December to give same-sex unions similar rights to heterosexual marriages. South Africa awaits a ruling by its constitutional court on the matter.

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