[From the diaries by susanbhu] After the withdrawal of troops from the endless blood-filled quagmire of Iraq and the revolutionary appointment of a cabinet with an equal proportion of men and women in one of the most chauvinistic societies in the world, the goverment of José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in Spain has received approval from the parliament for a law allowing homosexual marriages and adoption in defiance of the Catholic Church and the new Pope’s explicit opposition.
From BBC World News online:
The bill gives same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, including the right to adopt children.
The Roman Catholic Church and conservative opposition have fiercely opposed the move, which opinion polls suggest has the public’s support.
In fact, according to Il Manifesto of Italy:
But Zapatero doesn’t seem particularly impressed by the new Pope’s affermations:
From the BBC article:
I’m not so sure this is accurate. According to Il Manifesto, this law would put Madrid in the avant-garde of the world on the issue of homosexual rights. Only Holland, Belgium and parts of Canada (not an EU member)
permit gay marriages as of now.
The more important point,however, is that this is happening in a nation where, not that long ago, under Franco’s dictatorship about 5,000 people were incarcerated on the basis of their sexual orienation. So, this is a fairly great day indeed for those who believe that homosexual rights are fundamentally human rights.
Cabinet spokeswoman Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said thousands of children lived with homosexual parents and numerous studies had shown that they were no different to children brought up in heterosexual homes.
“There is no proof that homosexual parents educate their children any worse. In adoption, the well-being of the children comes first, independent of the sexual orientation of the parents,” she said.
The Christian Association of Gays and Lesbians welcomed the cabinet’s decision.
Gwenael Le Moing, of the association, said that the law would help the normalisation of homosexuality in society – “although there was still a lot of work to do”.
“It also leaves the church more and more isolated in its discriminatory position.”
The adoption part of the bill will allow gay couples to adopt only Spanish children, to avoid any legal wrangles with other countries. Under the bill, married gay couples will also be entitled to draw a pension after a partner’s death and to divorce.
Church leaders had earlier compared the plans to releasing a virus into society and called on politicians to reject them.
Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero took office in April, intending to remove what he called the Church’s undeniable advantages and create a secular state with streamlined divorce and relaxations in abortion law.
Earlier this week he said: “I deeply respect the opinions of the Catholic Church even if they are very critical of the government. I ask them to show the same respect.”
The Church’s influence on Spaniards has declined precipitously since the death in 1975 of the dictator General Francisco Franco. His regime was closely linked to the Church.
Opinion polls suggest that nearly half of Spaniards now almost never go to mass.