Friday, July 01, 2005

Spain Legalizes Gay Marriage

Sometimes I question CNN's decision of what is "frontpage worthy" news. I had to go hunting for this article, whose existence I only knew of because it appeared in my local paper.

So, as you can gather from the title, Spain's Congress has voted to legalize gay unions 187-147. The article contains the usual drama any "news" article should contain, with stories about conservatives screaming about the shame of the situation and activists dropping to their knees and sobbing in joy.

Ahem. The article is simply another footnote in the continuing downhill journey of ethics and morals in Europe, where the moral landscape continues to morph into a "Every man does as he sees fit" kind of place.

An interesting excerpt from the article:
The Roman Catholic Church, which held much sway over the government just a generation ago when Gen. Francisco Franco was in power, had adamantly opposed gay marriage. In its first display of anti-government activism in 20 years, it endorsed a June 18 rally in which hundreds of thousands marched through Madrid in opposition to the bill. Some 20 bishops took part in the June 18 rally.

On Wednesday, a Catholic lay group called the Spanish Family Forum presented lawmakers with a petition bearing 600,000 signatures as a last-minute protest.

Late last year, a spokesman for the Spanish Bishops Conference, Antonio Martinez Camino, said that allowing gay marriage was like "imposing a virus on society -- something false that will have negative consequences for social life."

However, polls suggest Spaniards supported gay marriage. A survey released in May by pollster Instituto Opina said 62 percent of Spaniards support the government's action on gay marriage, and 30 percent oppose it. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

I'm guessing the AP released different versions of this story, because the CNN version is not the same as the article in my local paper (both are AP). Here is a relevant section from the other article:
"Marriage, understood as the union of a man and a woman, is no longer provided for in our laws," the Spanish Bishops Conference said after the vote, referring both to the gay marriage law and a bill passed Wednesday making it easier for Spaniards to divorce.

Some 80 percent of Spaniards consider themselves Catholic. However, polls say nearly half the country's Catholics rarely go to Mass, and a third say they are simply not religious.

I suppose I don't have to point out the irony, or the utter sadness here. Half of the country's Catholics don't attend the church they identify themselves with, and a third of them don't consider themselves religious? They why identify wtih the religion at all? I can't even imagine the way these polls turned out . . .

"What religion do you consider yourself?"


"Do you attend mass?"

"No, never."

"Would you consider yourself a religious person?"

"No, I'm simply not religious."

" . . . m'kay. So, what makes you Catholic again?"

I suppose that when we figure out the answer to this, the dreadful decline of churches into the abyss of liberalism will be fully understood as well. Lord, hasten the day.

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