Spain expects to approve gay marriage bill early 2005
Mar Roman | July 01, 2004
MADRID — Spain's Parliament may approve same-sex marriages early next
year, Justice Minister Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar said Wednesday.
Justice Minister Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar
He spoke a day after lawmakers took a first step in that
direction, approving a nonbinding resolution urging the Socialist
government to amend Spain's civil code to permit gay marriage.
Lopez Aguilar said legislators will start reforming articles in
the code as early as September, and that gay marriage could become
a reality early next year.
"It's a challenge that this government wants to undertake, to
remove a border of inequality," Lopez Aguilar said after meeting
with representatives of gays and lesbian groups.
"It is a fair
cause that doesn't offend anyone."
If the law is approved, it will make Spain the third European
country to recognize gay marriages after the Netherlands and
Belgium. It is also legal in the U.S. state of Massachusetts.
Gay rights campaigners welcomed the preliminary vote in
Parliament's lower house.
"Finally, 28 years after our Constitution was approved after a
long struggle, we see how our right to equality is being
recognized," said Beatriz Gimeno, the president of the National
Federation of Gays and Lesbians.
Since taking office in April, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez
Zapatero has vowed to institute deep changes on social issues after
eight years of conservative rule.
On the day he was confirmed as prime minister, he told
Parliament he vowed to allow gay marriage and fight discrimination
This was followed days later with the appointment of a cabinet
of eight men and eight women, including a female deputy prime
The Socialist's first bill submitted to Parliament calls for
tougher penalties for violence against women.
The government also wants to ease Spain's strict law on
abortion, give full legal status to common-law marriages and adopt
a more liberal policy on assisted reproduction.
Pope John Paul II recently expressed concern about Zapatero's
ideas, fearing they might weaken family values in this
predominantly Roman Catholic country. – Sapa-AP
Marriage for Spanish gays on statute books next year, minister says [28/06/2004]