LONDON - The Spanish government approved a Bill to legalize homosexual marriage, making Spain the third country in Europe to pardon same-sex marriages.
The Bill, which was passed on Friday, will give homosexuals the right to adopt, and also “recognizes all rights for homosexuals, when it comes to qualifying for a pension, administering an estate, asking for a loan, authorising surgery for a partner but also to adopt a child,” a cabinet spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also made known the fact that approximately four million of Spain’s 40 million inhabitants, which represents roughly 10% of the population, are homosexual.
The controversial decision has added Spain to the list of countries in Europe that have made gay marriages legal, accompanying Belgium and Netherlands. Belgium, however, still refuses to give homosexuals the right to adopt children. In the Americas also, same-sex unions have recently been made legal in six Canadian provinces, in addition to Massachusetts in the USA.
The Bill will now be moved ahead for Parliamentary approval and will come into effect next year if it passes through this final hurdle.
The planned legislation has been sternly opposed by the Roman Catholic Church in Spain, who still possess an influential public sway, even though their power in the country has weakened in recent times. A statement by Church sources following the announcement of the Bill’s success read, “Society cannot remain indifferent to this attack” in its traditional values.
The Roman Catholic Church is not standing alone in its opposition to the Bill as an association of Christian fringe groups, and the Archbishop of Barcelona have also pledged to fight the new proposals.
Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, spokesperson for Spain’s Episcopal Conference said last week, that the Bill "would impose on society a virus, something false, which will have negative consequences for social life.”
Since the new government was elected earlier this year, Spain’s extreme liberal policies have also seemed to be backed by the country’s electorate. A July poll showed that 66 percent supported same-sex marriages, although when asked whether gay parents should be able to adopt the figure fell to 48 percent.
For the Bill to be implemented, fourteen articles of the Spanish civil code will have to be altered to change words like “man and woman” to “partners and parents”, and the like.
The Justice Minister, Juan Fernando Lopez de Aguilar told a news conference that the government “is cooperating with the Roman Catholic Church and considers that an open conflict with it is not good.”
The Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has shown that his policy is to liberalize social policies and to facilitate divorce. Earlier this week, he said , “I deeply respect the opinions of the Catholic Church even if they are very critical of the government. I ask them to show the same respect.”