Socialist senator steps down due to religious concerns

5th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

A prominent Socialist senator is stepping down from her party in order to be able to pursue her Catholic beliefs with a clear conscience.

3 December 2007

MADRID - A prominent Socialist senator announced Thursday that she is stepping down from her party in order to be able to pursue her Catholic beliefs with a clear conscience.

Mercedes Aroz - the co-founder of the Catalan Socialist Party, who received the most votes of any senator in Spain in the last general election - said her decision was due to her party's support for legislation that collides with Christian values.

"There are many Catholics in the Socialist Party [...] but throughout this legislature I have profoundly disagreed with many of its laws," Aroz told the Europa Press news agency. She is the first prominent Socialist to leave the party's ranks since Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero pushed through legislation legalising gay marriage, easing divorce proceedings and permitting stem cell research.

"I cannot support gay marriage, it is something that alters the institution of marriage. Nor could I support embryonic stem cell research, which collides with respect for life. For that reason I did not vote on either in the Senate," she said.

Aroz said that, after years as a "Marxist and atheist," she found God in 2000 when the late Pope John Paul II greeted millions of people in Rome. She said the PSC has accepted her decision to resign after 21 years of service.

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ Vera Gutiérrez Calvo 2007]

Subject: Spanish news