365Gay.com is reporting the following news from Spain:
(Madrid) With just over a month before Spain goes to the polls, the Socialist government’s same-sex marriage law is causing barely a ripple in the campaign.
When the law was passed two years ago, the conservative opposition Popular Party joined the [Roman] Catholic Church and condemned the move. At the time the PP said it would use the law to defeat the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
Now there is scant mention of opposition, no doubt the result of polls that show same-sex marriage has broad acceptance.
A public opinion poll released this month by Instituto Opina shows that nearly 75 percent of those questioned said they are fine with the law and it should not be repealed. Only 18 percent favor abolishing the law.
The gay marriage bill was the boldest and most divisive initiative of the liberal social agenda Zapatero has embarked on since taking office in April 2004. . . . Earlier this month when Zapatero called elections for March 9, he said that the same-sex marriage law was one of his greatest achievements.
There could be trouble ahead, however, as the report goes on to say that:
. . . despite public support for the law, [Zapatero’s] left-of-center government is facing stiff competition from the PP. The most recent poll shows the two parties in a dead heat. Spain’s economy, for more than a decade one of the most vibrant in Europe, is cooling off and inflation is running at more than four per cent, so the economy has become a major campaign issue.
Nevertheless, I remain hopeful. For one thing, the acceptance of gay marriage in Spain reminds me of the beautiful words of wisdom and hope that Dutch blogger, Vincent, wrote in December of 2005.
In a commentary on his blogsite, Vincent outlined the history (and pattern) of acceptance of gay marriage throughout Europe and the world. Reading it today, one can see that what’s happening in Spain, also happened in the Netherlands, the “first country in the world that opened civil marriage to same-sex couples, and where any distinction between gay and straight in marriage laws was eliminated.”
For as Vincent notes: “In typical Dutch fashion, the issue was debated for several years and then finally enacted in law without a lot of fanfare. Since then, the subject has disappeared completely from the public agenda. Nobody talks about it anymore. Even the Christian Democrats, who returned to office in 2002 and who opposed ‘gay marriage,’ realize there is no support for reversing the law and they have more or less accepted it as a reality.”
Let’s hope that this same “acceptance of reality” takes place in Spain and elsewhere.
Following is Vincent’s commentary in its entirety. Enjoy!
Love Is Love
It Hit Home
December 28, 2005
It Hit Home
December 28, 2005
What happens when same-sex couples can marry? I’ll tell you a secret: Nothing happens. The heavens don’t fall. There is no uncontrollable hysteria among straight couples to suddenly file for a divorce. There is no dark conspiracy to destroy the family or civilization. Nothing of the kind. All it means is that loving, committed relationships of gay and lesbian couples are protected and legally recognized. I find it all the more appalling to observe there is still so much hostility all over the world towards this simple, humane and ethical idea.
Next spring it will be five years since the first gay couples were united in matrimony in the Amsterdam City Hall on April 1, 2001 by mayor Job Cohen. A few months before, mayor Cohen was the junior minister of Justice in the government and responsible for putting the new marriage and adoption laws through parliament. The Netherlands was the first country in the world that opened civil marriage to same-sex couples, and where any distinction between gay and straight in marriage laws was eliminated. In typical Dutch fashion, the issue was debated for several years and then finally enacted in law without a lot of fanfare. Since then, the subject has disappeared completely from the public agenda. Nobody talks about it anymore. Even the Christian Democrats, who returned to office in 2002 and who opposed ‘gay marriage,’ realize there is no support for reversing the law and they have more or less accepted it as a reality.
Those who oppose ‘gay marriage’ for religious reasons often soften their thinking when they realize no church, mosque and synagogue is forced to marry or even accept gay couples. Or vice versa: some Christian denominations have performed ceremonies for same-sex couples since the 1980’s, but these ceremonies have no legal validity whatsoever outside civil marriage. The separation of church and state and the freedom of religion guarantee no one is forced to do anything he doesn’t want to. It is also important to note that the legal arrangements which are in effect in the Netherlands are not any kind of ‘gay marriage’ at all. There is only one civil marriage, and it’s open for opposite-sex and same-sex couples (the law making same-sex marriage possible is called ‘the Act on the Opening up of Marriage’ or ‘Wet Openstelling Huwelijk’). No specific arrangements have been made for homosexual couples, the law grants full equality.
Around the world, many countries are coming to terms with how to treat homosexual couples in a legal sense. The worldwide trend is towards more freedom and equality, either through civil unions or gay marriage. All over the world more and more gay and lesbian people are visible and out: they want to live in openness, honesty and authenticity. Our love is as valuable, a mystery as wonderful. We exist, and our relationships and our lives together deserve equal protection under the law. It’s a matter of fairness, justice and common sense.
Denmark was the first country in the world to establish civil unions in 1989, followed by Norway (1993), Israel (1994) and Sweden (1996). France and Germany have had civil union laws since 2000. In Portugal, gay couples who live together long enough receive the same benefits as heterosexuals under common law unions. In Buenos Aires, gay couples can register for a civil union. In 2003, Belgium was the second country in the world legalizing same-sex marriage. In May 2004, the state of Massachusetts was the first in the US to recognize same-sex marriage.
The year 2005 has been a good one for relationship recognition and full equality for gay and lesbian couples. The most sensational breakthrough was half a year ago in Spain when the Zapatero government legalized marriage for same-sex couples. A month later, Canada followed. The UK Civil Partnership Act took effect this December. It grants legal rights virtually identical to those enjoyed by married couples. Registration will only be available to same-sex couples and not as an alternative to heterosexual marriage.
Earlier this month the South-African Constitutional Court decided in a landmark ruling that it is unconstitutional to prohibit gays from marrying. It gave Parliament a year to make the necessary legal changes. The ruling clears the way for the country to become the first to legalize same-sex unions on a continent where homosexuality remains in most countries illegal and same-sex unions unthinkable. South Africa recognized the rights of gay people in the post-apartheid constitution of 1994.
The list grows longer and longer each year. And that’s a good thing. We’re all people: we’re not the same, but we’re all united in our humanity. The continuing effort to dehumanize homosexuals as degenerated perverts incapable of love is doomed to fail. Each and every gay person is living proof of the nonsense of hateful and violent anti-gay propaganda, so fashionable these days with people claiming to be interested in ‘moral values’. Love is love is love. There simply is nothing more to it.
Image: Pedro Zerolo, of the Socialist Workers’ party executive board, kisses his boyfriend in Madrid after the Spanish government’s 2005 vote on gay marriage. Photograph: Andrea Comas/Reuters.
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
New Studies: Gay Couples as Committed as Straight Couples
Separate is Not Equal
The Changing Face of “Traditional Marriage”
The Real Gay Agenda
Grandma Knows Best
Vermont Mother Tells It Like It Is
Naming and Confronting Bigotry
“Mainstream Voice” of “Dear Abbey” Supports Gay Marriage
What Scientists in the UK are Saying About Homosexuality
The Many Manifestations of God’s Loving Embrace
And Love is Lord of All