|Spain Legalizes Gay Marriage|
|On July 20, 2005, the lower house of the Spanish parliament voted
187 to 147 (with four abstentions) to fully legalize gay marriage,
overruling a prior vote by the Senate. This legislation
gives homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals, including the
ability to transfer property and adopt children. Spain,
the Netherlands, Belgium, and Canada allow gay marriages.
Because it is an overwhelmingly Catholic country, the issue of gay marriage has been divisive in Spain. The Pope has openly condemned the idea of gay marriage. Also, the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Orthodox churches all joined together just before the vote to ask the parliament to reject this legislation. The passing of this law is a triumph for the Socialist Party and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
The gay marriage legislation was passed on the same day as a relaxation of the rules on divorce in Spain, leading some opponents to claim that Spanish society is on the decline. Some local mayors have refused to marry homosexual couples, despite warnings from the federal government that they must follow the law.
Written August 19 , 2005.