Controversy as Spain legalises gay marriage
21 April 2005, MADRID-Spain become only the third European country to make gay marriage legal as a new law was passed to allow same-sex couples to tie the knot.
21 April 2005
MADRID-Spain become only the third European country to make gay marriage legal as a new law was passed to allow same-sex couples to tie the knot.
The Spanish lower house of parliament passed the controversial law to make gay marriage a reality.
The conservative Popular Party was only party to oppose the change in the Spanish Congress.
The change to Spain's Civil Code said: "Marriage will have the same requisites and effects when both parties are the same or different sex."
Instead of the words "husband" and "wife", the law will now use the word "partners".
Holland and Belgium have already legalised gay marriage.
The new law was passed with 183 votes in favour and 136 against and will now go to the Senate, the upper house of the Spanish parliament for final assent before becoming law.
Beatriz Gimeno, of the Spanish Federation of Lesbians, Gays and Transsexuals said: "It is a historical day for all those citizens who believe in equality, justice and rights."
The Spanish Episcopal Conference, which represents the Roman Catholic Church, said in a statement that the new law had "introduced a dangerous factor which would contribute towards the dissolution of the institution of marriage and with this, the just social order".
Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said if the new Pope Benedict XVI makes any declaration on same-sex weddings, he would respect this because religious tolerance and freedom of speech are guarantees of a democracy.
Juan Fernando López Aguilar, justice minister, said the law change would eliminate barriers of inequality and discrimination.
But the authoritative legal body, the General Judicial Council, has doubted the constitutional standing of the new law, saying marriage was defined as being heterosexual.
In a separate move, gay couples will have the right to adopt, another controversial move under the same law.
The Spanish Family Forum has opposed the move saying children who were brought up by gay couples had a 30 percent chance of becoming gay themselves – a much higher instance than the average.
All religious faiths, except Islam, issued a statement on Wednesday opposing gay marriage.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news