Spain’s government will approve same-sex marriage on Friday 1 October at a cabinet meeting, according to an official.

Jose Blanco, a leading member of the ruling Socialist party, made the announcement at a rally this week. Why are we doing this? he said. Because people have to be in charge of their own destiny.

The reform will then have to be approved by parliament.

Earlier this year Spain’s new prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, pledged to legalise same-sex marriage and improve equality for all Spaniards. Last week the government approved a law to make divorce quicker and easier, and they’ve said they will look at making abortion more accessible.

Almost 70 percent of Spain’s population support gay marriage according to a recent survey, despite more than 95 percent being registered as Catholic.

Meanwhile the people of the US state of Louisiana voted to ban same-sex marriage in a referendum on the weekend. An overwhelming majority of 80 percent supported amending the state constitution to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.

The measure had been expected to pass easily and Louisiana civil rights group Forum For Equality are already planning legal action, Associated Press reported. The group’s attorney John Rawls said there were many possible grounds for challenging the results in state and federal court.

Gay rights groups in the UK are also upset after prime minister Tony Blair postponed a parliament vote on legalising civil unions for gay couples after bowing to pressure from an anti-gay Irish Christian party.

The second reading of the Civil Partnerships Bill was scheduled to be voted on in parliament last Thursday, but Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley convinced Blair to put it off as he was unable to attend, The Observer reported. The DUP plan to vote against the legislation.

But there was good news in Canada last week when Manitoba became the country’s fourth province to legalise gay marriage. A judge declared Manitoba’s current definition of marriage unconstitutional when it was challenged in court by three same-sex couples.

The traditional definition of marriage in Manitoba is reformulated to mean a voluntary union for life of two persons, ruled Justice Douglas Yard.

Same-sex marriage is also legal in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec and in the territory of Yukon. The province of Nova Scotia is expected to allow gay marriage this week.

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