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In 1978 Spain legalized homosexuality among consenting adults, and in 2005 parliament legalized marriage between same-sex couples. Catalonia has helped pave the way in rights for gay couples, pre-empting national laws by granting same-sex couples the same official status and conjugal rights as heterosexuals, and has given the green light for changes in the law that would facilitate adoption by same-sex couples. Barcelona is one of the major centers of gay life in Spain, and two of the most popular resorts for gay travelers, Sitges (south of Barcelona) and the island of Ibiza, are in close proximity.

Lesbians and gays can pick up a copy of Gay Travel A to Z on www.amazon.com; this gives general information as well as listings for bars, hotels, restaurants, and places of interest for gay travelers throughout the world.

The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA; www.iglta.com) specializes in connecting travelers with the appropriate gay-friendly tour specialists. It offers a quarterly newsletter, marketing mailings, and a membership directory that is updated four times a year. For an online directory of gay- and lesbian-friendly travel businesses, go to their website and click on "Members."

Many agencies offer tours and travel itineraries specifically for gay and lesbian travelers. Among them are Above and Beyond Tours (www.abovebeyondtours.com); Now, Voyager (www.nowvoyager.com); and Olivia (www.olivia.com).

Websites www.gay.com/view/travel and www.gaytravel.co.uk provide up-to-date information about gay-owned, gay-oriented, and gay-friendly lodging, dining, sightseeing, nightlife, and shopping establishments in every important destination worldwide.

The following travel guides are available at bookstores and online booksellers: Spartacus International Gay Guide (Bruno Gmünder Verlag; www.spartacusworld.com/gayguide); Odysseus: The International Gay Travel Planner (Odysseus Enterprises Ltd); and the Damron guides (www.damron.com), with separate, annual books for gay men and lesbians.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.