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Gay Weddings Rejuvenate Struggling Town


Campillo de Ranas, a once-struggling rural town in the hills north of Madrid, has returned to prosperity and become the "unofficial gay wedding capital" of Spain, thanks to the commitment of fair-minded locals and an openly gay mayor.

Located in Guadalajara province, the nearly abandoned Campillo de Ranas benefited when Mayor Francisco Maroto welcomed same-sex couples whom more conservative mayors refused to marry despite Spain's marriage equality law, according to The New York Times. Spain, an overwhelmingly Catholic country, legalized same-sex marriage in 2005.

Since then, Mayor Maroto has married more than 140 couples, almost half of them gay or lesbian, from many countries. The hospitality industry has flourished, allowing the shuttered elementary school to reopen, among other improvements.

The story of transformation and renewal is the subject of a documentary called Campillo, Si, Quiero (Campillo, Yes, I Do), produced and directed by Andres Rubio, who is currently screening his film on the festival circuit.

"Shot over the span of a year, the film tells the story of how this hardscrabble hamlet, which was virtually abandoned 20 years ago, has been revived through a willingness to serve anyone who is willing to marry there," reports The New York Times. "Saying "yes" to gay couples turns out to have lured straight ones as well and has spawned a wedding and tourism industry that coexists quite peacefully with the town's rural character."

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Julie Bolcer