Two gay men dance in Madrid’s Chueca Square to celebrate new laws introduced by the Spanish government that gives same-sex couples the right to marry and adopt.

The legislation was introduced by cabinet on Friday and must now be approved by parliament, where it is expected to pass easily.

We are putting an end to centuries of discrimination, deputy prime minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told a news conference. There are already thousands of children in Spain who live with homosexual parents and more than 50 studies agree that there are no differences among children who grow up in homes with homosexual parents.

The plan, which should come into effect next year, has sparked a furious reaction from the Roman Catholic Church in Spain, which warned the government was introducing a virus into society.

However, polls show the move enjoys strong support from the country’s liberal population.

Meanwhile America’s House of Representatives voted not to amend the US constitution to ban gay marriage last Thursday. The measure failed by 49 votes and needed a two-thirds majority to be passed.

In July the Senate also voted against amending the constitution, with the proposal failing to get even a simple majority.

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