Spain OKs Same-Sex Marriage, and "Express Divorce"

Bishops' Conference Calls for Opposition

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MADRID, Spain, JUNE 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Spanish bishops' conference appealed to citizens to oppose with all legitimate means a new measure legalizing same-sex "marriage."



The call came after the country's Congress of Deputies today approved, by a vote of 187-147, a measure giving homosexual couples the same legal rights as heterosexual ones, including the right to adopt children.

The law, which will come into force the day after its publication in the state's Official Bulletin, is similar to statutes adopted by Belgium and the Netherlands.

The Canadian Senate is moving toward approval of a similar law next month.

"Today the words 'husband' and 'wife' have been systematically eliminated from the Code, in such a way that marriage, insofar as union of a man and a woman, is no longer contemplated by our laws," affirmed a press note published by the Spanish bishops' conference.

On Wednesday the Congress of Deputies approved a change in the civil code, allowing direct access to divorce without the need for a prior separation and cause.

Henceforth, it will be enough for one of the spouses not to want to continue the marriage, in order to be able to ask for a divorce. This can happen anytime three months after the celebration of the marriage. "Express divorce" is how the media dubbed it.

Radically unjust

The bishops' note states that with the new measure, the institution of marriage has lost "its own note of legal stability" and is "reduced to a shallow contract that either of the parties may rescind in virtue of his or her mere will, three months after stipulating it."

"In this way, the Spanish laws that regulate marriage have become radically unjust," the episcopal note said.

"They do not recognize the anthropological and social reality of the union of a man and a woman in its specificity and in its irreplaceable value for the common good, concretely, for the personal fulfillment of the spouses and for the procreation and education of the children," the prelates clarified.

"Our laws have ceased, therefore, to adequately protect the rights of parents, of children and of educators," the bishops continued. "Moreover, by leaving in practice the continuity of the conjugal pact to the discretion of individual liberty, they also leave the marriage bond unprotected and open the legal path to the violation of the rights of the other spouse and of the children.

"It is necessary to oppose these unjust laws through all the legitimate means that the state of law places at the disposition of the citizens."