Spain legalizes gay marriage

July 05, 2005

Beatriz Gimeno
MADRID, Spain — Spain became the third European country to legalize gay marriage Thursday in a parliament vote that left gay activists blowing kisses to lawmakers and the Catholic Church issuing calls for defiance.

Just 24 hours after Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin�s push for legalized same-sex marriage got its final vote of approval Wednesday, Spain�s 350-seat Congress of Deputies, by a vote of 187-147 with four abstentions, approved the measure to give homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual ones, including the right to adopt children.

After the tally was announced, activists watching from the spectator section of the chamber cried, cheered, hugged each other, waved to lawmakers and blew them kisses.

�This is a disgrace,� shouted several members of the conservative opposition Popular Party, which vehemently opposed the bill. Those in favor stood and clapped.

�It is a historic day for the world's homosexuals. We have been fighting for many years,� said Beatriz Gimeno, a longtime leader of the gay rights movement in Spain. �Now comes the hardest part, which is changing society's mentality.� In an interview with Reuters, Oscar-winning Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar, who is gay, said 21st century families don't have to reflect the traditional Catholic model.

�I don't like marriage. I am not going to get married,� he said. �But it is important for this to be called marriage so people know that it is the same thing for everyone.�

This victory supports what many political insiders have reported as a waning hold the Roman Catholic Church has over the government. The Church, which vehemently opposed the bill, was left smarting from the vote.

�Marriage, understood as the union of a man and a woman, is no longer provided for in our laws,� the Spanish Bishops Conference said after the vote, referring both to the gay marriage law and a bill passed Wednesday making it easier for Spaniards to divorce. �It is necessary to oppose these unfair laws through all legitimate means.�

A recent poll declared some 80 percent of Spaniards consider themselves Catholic. However, polls say nearly half the country's Catholics rarely go to Mass, and a third say they are simply not religious. – Gay Link Content

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Spain's senate rejects legalized same-sex marriage [28/06/2005]



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