Spain Legalizes Same-Sex Marriages
Parliament legalized gay marriage Thursday, defying conservatives and clergy who opposed making traditionally Roman Catholic Spain the third country to allow same-sex unions nationwide. Jubilant gay activists blew kisses to lawmakers after the vote. The measure passed the 350-seat Congress of Deputies by a vote of 187 to 147. The bill, part of the ruling Socialists’ aggressive agenda for social reform, also lets gay couples adopt children and inherit each others’ property.
The bill is now law. The Senate, where conservatives hold the largest number of seats, rejected the bill last week. But it is an advisory body and final say on legislation rests with the Congress of Deputies.
After the final tally was announced, gay and lesbian activists watching from the spectator section of the ornate chamber cried, cheered, hugged, waved to lawmakers and blew them kisses. Several members of the conservative opposition Popular Party, which was vehemently opposed to the bill, shouted: “This is a disgrace.” Those in favor stood and clapped.
The Netherlands and Belgium are the only other two countries that allow gay marriage nationwide. Canada’s House of Commons passed legislation Tuesday that would legalize gay marriage; its Senate is expected to pass the bill into law by the end of July.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero noted this in debate before the vote. “We were not the first, but I am sure we will not be the last. After us will come many other countries, driven, ladies and gentlemen, by two unstoppable forces: freedom and equality,” he told the chamber.
I suspect he’s right.