The Italian Almanac

Venice

Italian News - July 27

Spain's first gay married couple will spend the first night of their honeymoon in Venice free, the association of Venice hoteliers AVA announced. "With this simple wedding gift we want to send a strong message at a very delicate time for discrimination and integration," AVA chief Claudio Scarpa said.

"Venice is against all forms of discrimination. It is a welcoming city, open to all without any discrimination according to religion, race, class or sexual preference. This is a signal to the whole world. Venice is a city of warmth and peace."

The first couple to take advantage of the controversial legislation passed by Spain's Socialist government are Carlos Baturin, 54, an American psychiatrist who has taken Spanish citizenship, and Emilio Menendez, 50, a window dresser for a department store giant.

As a wedding present, Emilio's mother gave the couple tickets for an Adriatic cruise that will start in Venice in September.