Over 1,000 gay couples tie knot since law change

2nd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 March 2006, MERIDA — More than 1,000 gay couples have wed in Spain since a law allowing same-sex marriages came into force last year.

2 March 2006

MERIDA — More than 1,000 gay couples have wed in Spain since a law allowing same-sex marriages came into force last year.

The figure was provided at a press conference by Pedro Zerolo, a member of the national board of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and one of the main backers of the law, which unleashed an intense social debate and was attacked harshly by conservatives.

Zerolo, who is gay, said 800 same-sex marriages had officially been performed, but the figure came from only about half of the country's civil registries – those fully computerized.

"As of today, there should be more than 1,000 same-sex couples married and about the same number of applications going through," Zerolo said.

He described the number as "extremely high" in light of the fact that during the first two months of the law, which took effect in June, few marriages occurred because of the summer holiday period.

Zerolo claimed more than 10 percent of the marriages taking place each month in Spain involve same-sex couples.

The law brought in by the Socialist government,  as part of its election platform, was approved by parliament on a vote of 187-147, with four abstentions.

Deputies from the conservative Popular Party (PP) and the Catalan nationalist UDC party opposed the measure.

Spain was the fourth country in the world to permit same-sex marriage nationwide, joining the Netherlands, Belgium and Canada, despite strong opposition from the PP, which challenged the constitutionality of the legislation.

Catholic Church officials also attacked the law, with the cardinal-archbishop of Madrid, Antonio Rouco Varela, saying Spanish society was being tempted by proposals for radical secular lifestyles that "not only deny the faith, but also our very humanity, as can be seen in the recent legislation on marriage".

The PP accused the Socialists of using the law to divide Spanish society and defended an alternative civil unions initiative for same-sex couples.

Among those taking advantage of the same-sex marriage law to wed have been several high-ranking public officials.

Zerolo married his boyfriend, Jesus Santos, in October.

Some 57 percent of Spaniards approve of same-sex marriage, with the number falling to 42 percent when it comes to adoptions by gay couples, according to a CIS poll.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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