Gay marriages in Spain

Since last Friday, when the Spanish parliament passed a bill to legalise gay marriages, the whole issue continues to cause much controversy in Spain.

The Spanish Roman Catholic church (which has been campaigning against the possibility of gay marriages ever since the Socialist government was elected) has condemned the bill and last Friday Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, the head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council on the Family, called the new legislation “profoundly iniquitous” and “inhuman” and he called on Spanish Catholic civil officials to listen to their concience and refuse to marry homosexuals, even if it meant they lost their job. The Spanish vice-president, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega made declarations to the media saying that everyone in Spain must comply with the bill.

Since then several Spanish mayors from the Popular Party have condemned the bill and announced their intention not to carry out any marriage ceremonies between gays.

Lluís Fernando Caldentey a member of the Popular Party and mayor of a village in Catalonia even went as far to say that homosexuals were nutty, physically or mentally deformed individuals, who did not deserve to have the same rights as “normal” people born as “male or female”. Infact Caldentey will probably not be carrying out any more civil marriage ceremonies at all as the PP hastily moved to expell him from the Party yesterday.

Other PP mayors have been less offensive but just as adament in their refusal to marry same-sex couples. The mayors of Avila, Valladolid and Leon and the vice-mayor of Valencia have all said they will not carry out marriage ceremonies between gays. Mayor Amilibia of Leon told the media yesterday that the bill was a mistake because matrimony is meant for man and woman. (Mayor Amilibia became quite well known in Spain recently when it was discovered that he included items like hair gel in his list of expenses to be funded by the Town Hall of Leon).

Yesterday afternoon the spokesman of the Popular Party said that laws had to be obeyed, and that if PP mayors did not want to carry out marriage ceremonies between gay couples then they would have to delegate in someone (according to Spanish law mayors can delegate in another member of the municipal council).

If approved by the Senate, the bill will make Spain the first Catholic country to allow gays to marry and adopt children. The controversy is expected to continue.

Update June 2005: Spanish government legalises same-sex marriages.

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