Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005. It was in that year that we first saw two men, or two women, get married in our country. But in Spain there was a wedding between two women a long time before. It was in 1901, their protagonists were called Elisa and Marcela, and its history will be taken to the cinema by Isabel Coixet, brand new winner last Saturday at the Goya Awards gala (she won the awards for best film, direction and script adapted by The bookstore).
The history of Elisa and Marcela is well known in Galicia. So much so that, this past Christmas, the City Council of A Coruña included its figure in its well-known municipal Bethlehem. But his dramatic love story, and the turn of events that led to their marriage (for the Church, nothing less), is still unknown to many. And, according to several media, it will be Isabel Coixet who makes it known through a film that, say the rumors, will star María Valverde and Natalia de Molina, and that will premiere on Netflix throughout this year.
The story of Elisa and Marcela
Elisa Sánchez Loriga and Marcela Gracia Ibeas fell in love in adolescence, at the end of the 19th century, in A Coruña. Neither their families nor society approved their relationship, so they lived separately at different times, until they agreed to work as teachers in two nearby villages in the province. It was then that they made a decision that made them go down in history: Elisa changed her appearance to that of a man, and began calling herself Mario.
They got married by the Church, on June 8, 1901, after a series of tricks, which included the baptism of Mario, but the life of Elisa and Marcela did not become a path of roses despite the wedding. Their families repudiated them, their neighbors knew their secret and they ended up exiling themselves in Portugal to try to escape rumors and possible legal repercussions, since homosexual marriage was not legal at the time, obviously, and it was also a crime to transvestism in which Elisa would have incurred, in addition to the documentary falsehood.
In Porto they even had a daughter (through Marcela), they were arrested, extradited to Spain and acquitted. Subsequently, they emigrated to Argentina, where they lost track.
Although Elisa and Marcela have jumped to the headlines in recent years, and more will do so with the arrival of Isabel Coixet's film, her story did not go unnoticed at the time: several local newspapers published the news of the false wedding already in her moment, standing out in the headlines "The wedding without a man". Now, perhaps, they will receive recognition as pioneers that have been elusive for more than a century.
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