Spain becoming Southern Sweden?
December 30, 2004 6:17 PM   Subscribe

Spain to legalize Same Sex Marriages. Fulfilling a campaign promise, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's socialist government is on the verge of making Spain only the third country in Europe to legalize same sex marriages after the Netherlands and Belgium. This and other progressive legislation has led angry bishops of the Spanish Church and other religious groups to start a campaign against Zapatero's “social revolution” that is converting Spain into one of the most liberal countries in all of Europe. [more inside]
posted by sic (61 comments total)
In less than 10 months, the socialists have taken (Catholic) religion out of the mandatory public school curriculum, eased restrictions on abortion, stem cell research and divorce. Oh my! Not to mention the much needed law that they passed a few months ago to specifically protect women who are victims of domestic violence (a huge problem in Spain). When the Congreso de Diputados reconvenes after the new year they will vote on the Same Sex Marriage law as well as legalize 800,000 currently illegal but working immigrants in Spain. With the support of all of the political parties, except of course Jose Maria Aznar's Partido Popular, the bill will pass into law in 2005. The new law will grant gay married couples the same rights as heterosexuals in areas such as adoption, inheritance, pensions, divorce and the possibility of getting Spanish nationality after marrying a Spanish citizen. Zapatero also attended the opening of Alejandro Amenábar's latest film Mar Adentro, a movie that may come to be seen as the opening salvo in the debate on Euthanasia.

It's good to be a liberal in Spain these days!
posted by sic at 6:18 PM on December 30, 2004

It's excellent! (and note fellow Americans: they didn't wait for the public to vote on it, or public opinion to be behind it--the current leadership of Spain is actually demonstrating leadership towards equality)

posted by amberglow at 6:21 PM on December 30, 2004

The Spanish Inquisition must be rolling over in their graves.
posted by bobo123 at 6:24 PM on December 30, 2004

Muchas gracias, Amberglow.

I'ts true that there has been no vote on the issue, but recent polls show that 66% of Spaniards are in favor of same sex marriages...!

Oh and I forgot to mention that half of Zapatero's ministers are women.
posted by sic at 6:25 PM on December 30, 2004

How's his popularity? Do people think they're going too far too fast? (I'd imagine that younger people--who don't really remember life under dictators--are for him, but what about older folks?)
posted by amberglow at 6:29 PM on December 30, 2004

Whoo-whoo! Go Spain Go!
posted by five fresh fish at 6:30 PM on December 30, 2004

Also, i read something the other day that they're cutting the massive subsidies the church gets or something?
posted by amberglow at 6:32 PM on December 30, 2004

Well, right now he's the highest rated politician in Spain. Aznar's insistence on supporting Bush at all costs (from Georgetown, no less) has cut the legs out from the new President of the Partido Popular, Mariano Rajoy. Aznar's men, Eduardo Zaplana and Angel Acebes, have basically taken over the party from Rajoy and are employing the "rabid dog" philosopohy of politics, attack attack attack. They've taken it to ridiculous extremes. It is a mistake on their part, because I believe the incessant negativity really turns off moderate voters.

That said, Zapatero is going to have a tough time because the Spanish Church is not an inconsequential enemy to have (and yes, he is cutting the Church's subsidies). He also needs the nationalist Esquerra Republicana party of Cataluña and the semi-communist/eco-pacifist party Izquierda Unida (United Left) to support him. This has been easy so far because everyone is united against the craziness of the Partido Popular, but we shall see if my favorite politician is able to weather three more years...
posted by sic at 6:36 PM on December 30, 2004

Viva Espana!
posted by jonmc at 6:37 PM on December 30, 2004

Go spain!
posted by ori at 6:40 PM on December 30, 2004

That's good to hear.
posted by at 6:41 PM on December 30, 2004

The Spanish Inquisition must be rolling over in their graves.

If there is a God, one can only hope that they're still being rotated on their rotisserie spits in Hell for the trillionth time during the last 700 years.
posted by psmealey at 6:41 PM on December 30, 2004

How have they been treating ETA? those bombs the other day at gas stations were them, no?

and what psmealey said. Anyone who hasn't been to Spain should go--a fabulous, vibrant place full of great people that's much much more than the tourist stereotypes. i want to live in Madrid someday
posted by amberglow at 6:44 PM on December 30, 2004

This is great news for humanity. Good on Spain.
posted by AlexReynolds at 6:44 PM on December 30, 2004

So, Miguel, when you gonna straighten out Portugal so the whole Iberian peninsula can get things straight (so to speak)?
posted by jonmc at 6:46 PM on December 30, 2004

ETA is on its last legs, their political arm, Batasuna, recently made a public statement calling for a move to political action instead of "revolutionary action" to achieve Basque independence. That was huge. The recent bombs, all of which were basically little more than m-80s, were meant to remind everyone that they still exist. France and the new Interior Minister Alonso have been arresting etarras (members of ETA) left and right and some of the historic figures of ETA have made statements from prison calling for an end to violence.

One gets the feeling that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
posted by sic at 6:48 PM on December 30, 2004

In Kiwiland the opposition is starting to get political "I have a higher calling than a politician, I am a man of God." TVNZ however have decided to opt for Responsibility Self-Esteem Courage Patience Perseverance & Honesty
posted by doogyrev at 6:51 PM on December 30, 2004

sic, that should help with their popularity (except in Basque country i guess), no? I bet if the economy stays ok there, they'll stay in power for a while.

That Destiny thing is very scary, doogy--they're a church/cult and a political party? ugh. (and i wouldn't be surprised to see that here in my lifetime as well)
posted by amberglow at 6:57 PM on December 30, 2004

News like this gives us hope in the darker, more backwards regions of the North-Western hemisphere.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:01 PM on December 30, 2004

Amberglow: I'd be very surprised if the Destiny Party won any seats in our Parliament. They'd need at least 5% of the national vote, and they're polling at about 1% at the moment. Recent history has shown that religious-based parties don't succeed in New Zealand, they poll at around 2-3% and thus fail to win representation. (We've got a proportional system, so % of seats in parliament = the % you win of the national vote, but you have to win at least 5%). And even if they did, they'd win those votes at the expense of similar parties, so the net left/right balance in Parliament would stay the same (and the right would still be losing).

Incidentally Destiny are based on a US church - I forget which one exactly.

Sic: this is good news, and thanks for sharing. What's your view of racial issues in Spain at the moment? (There's been quite a lot of comment in England after racist chanting and abuse marred the Spain-England soccer match recently).
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:16 PM on December 30, 2004

This is just downright awesome news.
posted by cmonkey at 7:19 PM on December 30, 2004

Infinite: I found this about them (at bottom of page--but nothing about who they were influenced by here)--and go Georgina! Destiny New Zealand, which preaches traditional family values, abstinence from drugs and alcohol and the importance of living without reliance on government welfare, has more than 4600 members, including a branch in Brisbane. Maori political leaders such as Tariana Turia, leader of the Maori Party, have expressed concern that the church requires all members to "tithe" 10 per cent of their wages to support its televangelist campaign.
Mainstream Maori leaders privately express worries that Destiny may weaken traditional Maori tribal structures by urging members to focus on their immediate family first. But followers are passionate in their support. " Being a member of Destiny teaches Maori men to get away from all that Once Were Warriors stuff, to become better people, to resist evil," said Wiremu Tamaki, an uncle of Brian Tamaki, who was among several hundred church followers bussed in from the North Island city of Rotorua for the rally. "I'm here today to support the family, to support the Lord's work."
At the rally, more than 300 men of the Destiny church performed a specially choreographed haka, or war dance, which urged politicians to heed "God's word". Mr Tamaki has registered Destiny as a political party and will field candidates at next year's election, but has ruled himself out as a candidate.
Government MP Georgina Beyer, a transsexual and former prostitute, screamed at the demonstrators. "How dare you use the cloak of Christianity when you are imparting to your children more prejudice and discrimination towards people like me?" Ms Beyer demanded, to the cheers of the gay activists, who claimed they were abused and pushed by members of the Destiny group.

Wasn't it the English that were being racist at the soccer games?
posted by amberglow at 7:25 PM on December 30, 2004

Cheers to Spain!

Now, only if the influence would drift westward 'cross the Atlantic....
posted by dhoyt at 7:34 PM on December 30, 2004

Special Events - New Years Eve

New Years Eve at Destiny Church Auckland. there will be lots of special peformances.

8.00pm start, come and join the fun.

(all welcome for a few beers round my place before I pop along)
posted by doogyrev at 7:39 PM on December 30, 2004

give 'em hell, doogy! ; >
posted by amberglow at 7:42 PM on December 30, 2004

Amberglow: interesting link. They flirt with some very scary imagery (all dressed in black, marching and chanting in unison, fists in the air).

On the racism issue: English football (soccer) does have a long history of racism, but they're making serious efforts to get rid of it. (See for example Kick It Out). English fans were certainly upset after the match I mentioned (see Soccernet).

I was mainly using soccer as an example because I was familiar with it, and wondering if the racism was widespread.
posted by Infinite Jest at 8:04 PM on December 30, 2004

*drinks to Spain*
posted by arse_hat at 8:21 PM on December 30, 2004

Congrats Spain!
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 8:37 PM on December 30, 2004

*doffs fedora in Spain's general vicinity*
posted by The God Complex at 8:48 PM on December 30, 2004

*kisses Spain right on the mouth*
posted by hojoki at 8:51 PM on December 30, 2004

*looks lasciviously at spain out of the corner of his eye in the shower after socialism practice*
posted by The God Complex at 8:53 PM on December 30, 2004

*mirar por un marido*
posted by amberglow at 8:56 PM on December 30, 2004

Once again, I feel my marriage dissolving from under me. Damn those European homos!
posted by fungible at 9:48 PM on December 30, 2004

Well, I guess it's official: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.
posted by SPrintF at 10:08 PM on December 30, 2004

Spain's national (soccer) coach, Aragones, can't seem to get his foot out of his mouth either, his latest comments about Reyes and gypsies and all, but overall Spain is taking action this American only wishes his government would.

On the Basque question, though, I did see news about the regional parliament (with a few votes from the ETA's political wing) vote for a new form of autonomy which Zapatero and crew immediately denounced as violating the 1978 constitution. Woops.
posted by billsaysthis at 10:12 PM on December 30, 2004

The Spanish Inquisition must be rolling over in their graves.

You know, you're just begging for a Python reference.
posted by greatgefilte at 10:21 PM on December 30, 2004

Didn't we already talk about this here? Of course, this is sweetness itself.

Soccer racism and anti-Muslim sentiment and the Basque issue aside, yay Spain!
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:23 PM on December 30, 2004

What is this feeling in my chest? Is my heart pumping again? This is perhaps the second or third piece of good news I've heard in three years. Finally, a country with cerebros y huevos! Liberate us!
posted by squirrel at 10:48 PM on December 30, 2004

Very cool. Go Spain!
posted by DyRE at 11:07 PM on December 30, 2004

This is truly wonderful news. Although it isn't likely in my lifetime, it just may be that true equality (at least in the legal sense) will happen.
posted by deborah at 11:37 PM on December 30, 2004

This is horrible!!!

Aw, I'm just kidding. This is great. I'm all for it. I love it. I wish I remembered my high school spanish so I could say something cool (in spanish) ...
posted by jefbla at 11:38 PM on December 30, 2004

Viva l'Espana!

(Sorry, I forget the codes for the appropriate diacritical marks. I think diacritical is what I mean. *peers at mostly empty bottle of Gamay Noir*)
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:59 PM on December 30, 2004

I really hope we here in Canada follow suit whenever they have the vote. It would be nice to get it finalized.
posted by The God Complex at 1:21 AM on December 31, 2004

I really hope we here in Canada follow suit whenever they have the vote. It would be nice to get it finalized.

It's going to be pretty funny when the new Axis of Evil is Canada, Spain and Massachusetts.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:41 AM on December 31, 2004

Where's ParisParamus when you need a fair and balanced opinion?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:00 AM on December 31, 2004

Aw man, I just kissed Mayor Curley by mistake.
Top gag.
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:01 AM on December 31, 2004

What's your view of racial issues in Spain at the moment? (There's been quite a lot of comment in England after racist chanting and abuse marred the Spain-England soccer match recently).

Well in Spain, as in most European countries, there still is a lot of what I call "ignorant racism". Luis Aragones (the trainer of the national side) is a perfect example, he simply can't understand why saying "negra de mierda" is racist, because, as he insists, he has many many black friends... It must be pointed out that he did say it in a private moment, when he was trying to get a young player fired up to play against a superior black player in an upcoming match. Unfortunately for him, it was picked up by those long distance mikes and published in the sports tabloids, which of course was picked up by the English tabloids and turned into a question of national pride. The English side came out to play that match with a chip on their shoulder and played, shall we say, in a "rough" manner. Meanwhile the tiny minority of real, skinhead type racists that exist in Spain and other European countries, took advantage of the situation to make monkey noises every time a black player touched the ball, turning a friendly match into a violent and repugnant display of racism. Cabrones.

I blame Aragones' ignorant racism and the sensationalism of the sports tabloids in both countries. I sincerely believe that Aragones doesn't hate black people or object to living and working with them. But do I suspect that he views them as "different". He's an old man.

Is Spain racist? After the attack in Madrid there were no major attacks against muslims in Spain. That should tell you quite a bit. Of course the brand new Zapatero government didn't take advantage of the tragedy to whip the populace into a paranoid frenzy like other, unnamed politicians have done. ;) What would Aznar have done?

However, racism exists here as it does in any European country and there is a tiny minority of truly hideous nazi-type racists. Ugh.
posted by sic at 3:32 AM on December 31, 2004

On the Basque question, though, I did see news about the regional parliament (with a few votes from the ETA's political wing) vote for a new form of autonomy which Zapatero and crew immediately denounced as violating the 1978 constitution. Woops.

The "Plan Ibarretxe" has been bandied about for about 4 years now (Ibarrexte is President of the País Vasco) and is a politcal ploy to get his nationalist base fired up. You see, each Autonomous Community in Spain has a Statute of Autonomy, kind of like a Constitution. In order to change it, the Regional parliament has to approve it and then the Spanish Parliament has to approve it. Like any law, if the change to the Statute VIOLATES the Constitution it will be declared unconstitutional and therefore null and void. The Plan Ibarretxe IS RACIST because it wants to set up different "classes" of citizenship with different rights in the Basque Country depending on whether somebody is of the Basque race, the Spanish race, or other immigrant races...

RACE BASED DISCRIMINATION is UNCONSTITUTIONAL and so the Plan Ibarretxe is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. However, since Ibarretxe has won the votes of Batasuna, the political arm of ETA, he will now force this to be voted on and rejected by the Spanish Parliament. That is a done deal. Why bother, you ask? Once the Spanish reject the Basque proposal he can rally his base around the fact that their Statute is being repressed by the Spanish...See how that works?
posted by sic at 3:56 AM on December 31, 2004

heartfelt (from someone living in a country practically run by the fucking catholic church) congratulations.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:36 AM on December 31, 2004

Nitpick. Denmark was the first country in the world to legalize same sex marriage in 1989. list. Sweden followed suit in 1995.
posted by dabitch at 5:00 AM on December 31, 2004

*puts on "Carmen," uses curtain as long flowing gown, hops up on coffe table in victory dance, falls off coffee table, frightens cats, goes "wtf," etc.*
posted by moonbird at 6:44 AM on December 31, 2004

YAY!! Hmm - perhaps it's time to move back?...
posted by widdershins at 7:14 AM on December 31, 2004

this doesn't surprise me. because someday humans are going to finally realize that, ultimately, love conquers all.

*hopeless romantic*
posted by ZippityBuddha at 7:27 AM on December 31, 2004

The list needs updating.

June 26, 2002. President Bush has signed a bill allowing death benefits to be paid to the domestic partners of firefighters and police officers who die in the line of duty, permanently extending a federal death benefit to same-sex couples for the first time. Gay marriage is only legal in Vermont."

...should actually read...

"Civil unions are legal in Vermont, while gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts"
posted by ericb at 7:59 AM on December 31, 2004

So wait, I'm supposed to move to Spain now instead of Canada? I hope they have more lax imigration laws. I've never been to Spain, but I'd like to live in a house like they had in Sexy Beast.

Does anyone know if they're handing out money to Western Artists over there?
posted by password at 8:29 AM on December 31, 2004

¡Vivan los maricones!
posted by ism at 9:01 AM on December 31, 2004

Hooray for Spain! This is so good to hear.
posted by hopeless romantique at 9:14 AM on December 31, 2004

ism, what about the lesbians? WHAT ABOUT THE LESBIANS?!?!?

Kisses from Massachusetts, home of gay marriage and the world champion Boston Red Sox.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:50 AM on December 31, 2004

Oh what a year here in Massachusetts - New England Patriots - Super Bowl XXXVIII Champions, Boston Red Sox - World Series 2004 and most importantly, leading the way for gay/lesbian marriages !
posted by ericb at 7:57 PM on December 31, 2004

I gave my vote for Zapatero, and I am glad I did it, but the situation here isn't what I'd call "rosy", the opposition is fierce and very emotional, so there's a lot of people very angry about the homosexual marriage, the unity of Spain and the cutback to some historical rights the church has always taken for granted. Being catalan, I feel that 2005 won't be an easy year, but at least is good to know we're not alone.

And many thanks for writing this wonderful thread, sic
posted by samelborp at 10:32 AM on January 1, 2005

samelborp, I wrote this thread mostly to give all our liberal friends in the US some good news but also in part to excercise all of the negative feelings that the PP produces in me. They've gone so far over the top with their "loyal opposition" (ja ja) that I think many people, even here in Spain, don't realize how much ZP is accomplishing, because he's doing it relatively quietly. It seems that most of us can't get around Aznar's snarling image at the 11 M Commission or the latest barbaridad that Zaplana or Acebes says in the Parliament. It seems that they make so angry that we can't see or hear anything but them. I'm sure this is their strategy. I mean when I started writing this thread I was surprised myself when I saw the list of things that the PSOE had accomplished in so little time. . . I think that Zapatero is smarter and stronger than people give him credit for. He's doing the right thing by not lowering himself to the PP's level of insults and scandal-mongering. They may call him Bambi, but so far he's getting his legislation through despite all of their barking!

Now if we can only keep Carod-Rovira from putting his foot in his mouth and if the Communists don't fracture IU and Ibarretxe doesn't get too out of hand and ETA finally goes away forever, I think that Aznar's insistence in supporting Bush will drive away the moderate voters and help Zapatero win a second administration.

Por lo menos, eso espero.... ;)

ps) how long do you think Rajoy will last as 3rd President of PP (After Founder President Fraga and Honor President Aznar, naturally - JA!)
posted by sic at 1:55 PM on January 1, 2005

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