Spain’s same-sex couples will be able to wed after the country’s parliament legalised gay marriage on Thursday.

The gay marriage measures passed Spanish parliament by a vote of 187 to 147, despite rejection by the senate last week and fierce opposition from Spain’s influential Catholic Church, The Associated Press reported.

Largely Roman Catholic Spain is now the third country to allow gay marriage nationwide, alongside the Netherlands and Belgium. Canada is also on track to approve gay marriage after its lower house of parliament approved a same-sex unions bill this week.

Same-sex couples will be able to marry once the new law is published in Spain’s government registry, expected within two weeks at the latest.

Spain’s prime minister and gay activists hailed their country’s new gay marriage law, which also gives same-sex couples adoption and property rights.

Today Spanish society is giving an answer to a group of people who for years have been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, whose dignity has been offended, Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Jos?uis Rodriguez Zapatero was quoted as saying.

After us will come many other countries, driven, ladies and gentlemen, by two unstoppable forces: freedom and equality.

Gay activists cheered and blew kisses to legislators after the gay marriage bill passed, according to The Associated Press.

Local same-sex marriage lobby group Australian Marriage Equality (AME) also welcomed Spain’s new law.

This week will go down in human rights history. Canada and Spain have shown the rest of the world that it can and will be done, AME national convenor Luke Gahan said.

The Spanish senate rejected the gay marriage bill last week, but that vote was not binding on the parliamentary lower house.

Spain’s Catholic Church also bitterly opposed the gay marriage law, calling on Catholics to boycott it and supporting a mass anti-gay protest in Madrid two weeks ago.

But opinion polls suggest a majority of Spaniards support same-sex unions. One poll in May indicated 62 percent of people supported the government’s gay marriage initiative, The Associated Press reported.

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