Thursday, June 30, 2005


Spain becomes third country to legalize gay marriage

While the headlines Wednesday were bursting with the news that Canada had become the third country to legalize gay marriage nationwide, they were premature—and wrong. Spain may now claim that honor.

The Canadian House of Commons approved the legislation. But it still has to pass the Senate, which is expected, and will not become law until July.

Meanwhile, the Spanish breezed on by. Mar Roman of the AP reports,

The measure passed the 350-seat Congress of Deputies by a vote of 187-147. The bill, part of the ruling Socialists' aggressive agenda for social reform, also lets gay couples adopt children and inherit each others' property.

The bill is now law. The Senate, where conservatives hold the largest number of seats, rejected the bill last week. But it is an advisory body and final say on legislation rests with the Congress of Deputies.

Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero was eloquent—

"We were not the first, but I am sure we will not be the last. After us will come many other countries, driven, ladies and gentlemen, by two unstoppable forces: freedom and equality," he told the chamber.

Zapatero said the reform of Spanish legal code simply adds one dry paragraph of legalese but means much more.

He called it "a small change in wording that means an immense change in the lives of thousands of citizens. We are not legislating, ladies and gentlemen, for remote unknown people. We are expanding opportunities for the happiness of our neighbors, our work colleagues, our friends, our relatives."

Zapatero has been giving the Roman Catholic church fits—

The gay marriage bill was the boldest and most divisive initiative of the liberal social agenda Zapatero has embarked on since taking office in April 2004. Parliament overhauled Spain's 25-year-old divorce law Wednesday by letting couples end their marriage without a mandatory separation or having to state a reason, as required under the old law.

He has also pushed through legislation allowing stem-cell research and wants to loosen Spain's restrictive abortion law.

The Church greatly misses its old fascist ally Generalissimo Francisco Franco—

The Roman Catholic Church, which held much sway over the government just a generation ago when Gen. Francisco Franco was in power, had adamantly opposed gay marriage. In its first display of anti-government activism in 20 years, it endorsed a June 18 rally in which hundreds of thousands marched through Madrid in opposition to the bill. Some 20 bishops took part in the June 18 rally.

Notice that the bishops did from little to nothing in preventing the previous right-wing Prime Minister from joining the coalition to invade Iraq.

But the people of Spain are not so duped by the Church as are their counterparts in the U.S.—

Despite the street protests in Madrid and elsewhere and the petition drive, polls suggest Spaniards supported gay marriage.

A survey released in May by pollster Instituto Opina said 62 percent of Spaniards support the government's action on this issue, and 30 percent oppose it. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points. But surveys show Spaniards about evenly split over whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt children.

Good on Spain!

Related posts
New Pope explains priestly sex scandal (4/20/05)
In ecclesia Romae nolite quaerere, nolite dicere (4/23/05)

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