SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — An evangelical couple in the Dominican Republic has become the first pair to marry under a new law recognizing religious weddings not held in a Roman Catholic church.

The newly effective law allowed Baldwin Rodriguez and Leidy Laura Cabreja to have an officially recognized Jehovah's Witness wedding ceremony Wednesday.

Instead of holding it at their church, though, the couple was married at the headquarters of the Central Electoral Board, which oversees civil records. That was so they could immediately have their marriage certificate recorded.

Freedom of worship did not receive constitutional protection until 2010 in the Caribbean country, where more than 80 percent of the 10 million inhabitants are Catholics.

Previously, marriages received legal recognition only if held at the civil registry or in a Catholic ceremony.

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