Friday, June 24, 2005

The Rain in Spain stays mainly in the plains

But not if you are gay. You might have been soaked wet then a few days ago in Madrid, when half a million Spaniards, 20 Roman Catholic bishops and opposition leaders (CNN-story, BBC-story) marched against the new Socialist governments intention to legalize same-sex marriages in Spain soon.
Under the proposed bill, Spanish Civil Law would include the phrase: "Matrimony shall have the same requisites and effects regardless of whether the persons involved are of the same or different sex.". Apparently, they preferred this sparse solution over changing a 1,000 existing other laws to obtain equality between same- and different-sex partnership.

Justice Minister Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar argued that the bill overcomes "the barriers of discrimination, many of them with deep historical or primitive roots, which affect rights and freedoms and, in a specific way, the extension of free choice in the search for happiness, an unwritten basic right".

Pretty plain. We don't discriminate people because they are left-handed, because they prefer broccoli to sprouts, or because they like Celine Dion and not U2. Why should we discriminate people then that want to marry, just because their partner has the same gender? De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum.

Now all this opposition is pretty pathetic and funny in a way. Of course Catholics are entitled to oppose the use of condoms, birth control and the legal organization of divorce. Free speech, you know. Just don't pressure a government to implement your private rules on all of us. Moreover, is a healthy heterosexual Christian marriage degraded by the fact that same-sex partners can legally marry also? You must be pretty insecure then.

And then, the proposed law regulates the Civil Law consequences of marriage, not the mystical or religious ones. The Catholic Church is free, of course, to deny same-gender partners marriage in its ceremonies and rites. That's their privilege. "My Kingdom is not of this world, Jesus said.

So guys, discriminate whomever you like in the confinement of your churches, but stay out of public business. Separation of Church and State, you know. It's bad enough already you pressurize (read here) your own Catholic Church members in countries like the Philippines. The Spaniards elected their government in a democratic way. Well yes, that is how it goes with State Affairs in our beloved democratic West, and we are proud of it.

We don't ask you to use condoms; we don't ask you to practice 'artificial' birth control; we don't ask you to marry a same-sex partner, even if you love him or her. You can do as you please or as you feel compelled to by a Divine Construct or by Ratzinger. You will have to deal with your conscience opposing the use of condoms in the struggle against AIDS in Africa, and opposing the use of 'artificial' birth control methods against overpopulation in Asian and South-American countries.

Islam is condemned often in the West for its (supposed) intention to impose the Sha'ria (Islamic Law) and its theocratic guidelines upon us, and rightly so. The French Revolution and the Enlightenment in Europe put the Church back where it belongs. That is, in the privacy of personal convictions. It's nobody's right to attack your deepest convictions and beliefs. You can even, and of course, vote according to it. That's democracy. You can try to convince, to Evangelize, to get market share. Just don't force your private beliefs upon others. Pretty plain, I guess? Like the rain in Spain.

Links: Smetty's soapbox.
Some spicy info about naughty popes and bankrupt bishops. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.
Catholic theocratic fundamentalism isn't something from the past, read here (in German).
The Flemish mainly Catholic Christian-Democrat party on same-sex adoption (in Dutch).

Photo: (click to enlarge) some Photoshop fun. The background is a wedding ceremony in the Dumaguete cathedral, Negros Oriental, Philippines, end last May. Some cloning has been done on the couple before the altar, in case you doubted.
The text balloons have been added with a free tool from About Graphics Software, a very useful site with Photoshop (free) tools and tutorials.
The Tintin cartoon figures are copyrighted by ©Hergé Moulinsart but I rely on the citation and parody right.

Postscript: the law came into effect on July 3, 2005. Ratzinger backed off.


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