Postcard from... Jun


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The Independent Online

Over the past seven years and against all expectations, a small dormitory town on the outskirts of Granada has established itself as Spain's number-one destination for gay weddings.

And last week, when an Australian politician and his boyfriend travelled half way round the world to become the first foreign couple to "tie the knot" in Jun (population 3,500), it was clear the town's popularity had reached a new landmark.

The South Australian Minister for Social Inclusion, Ian Hunter, and his partner Leith Semmons, an artist, faithfully followed the superstitions that form part of all registry office weddings to the letter, signing their wedding document with a green biro and kissing in front of their guests for exactly 17 seconds.

With gay marriages still banned in Australia – and a vote as recent as last September confirmed that – Mr Hunter said he and Mr Semmens had not married in Spain as part of a gay rights campaign, although he claimed that his marriage would "have an impact on a political level in Australia".

Previously best known for its pottery, Jun's popularity as a gay wedding resort has proved to be a financial lifeline after the last of its 15 or so ceramics factories closed. "It taps us into the tourism market and that is vital for our economy," Mayor Jose Antonio Rodriguez told El Páis yesterday.

If gay marriages have put Jun on the map, then Mr Rodriguez' popularity on the Internet can hardly have done it any harm, either: among Spanish politicians, with 169,200 followers his Twitter account is second only to that of the Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and higher than that of his own party leader, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.