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Spain legalizes gay marriage

by Plutonium Page Thu Jun 30th, 2005 at 01:41:44 PM EST

promoted from the diaries by Jerome.

This is so cool:

Spain's lower house of parliament has voted in favour of allowing gay couples to marry and adopt children.

The controversial decision overrules last week's rejection of the bill by the upper house, the Senate.

The bill will become law in a month's time, making Spain Europe's third nation after the Netherlands and Belgium to allow same sex marriages.

Polls suggest most Spaniards back the move, although two weeks ago thousands joined a Madrid rally against the bill.

What a great quote from Zapatero:

We are not legislating, ladies and gentlemen, for remote unknown people - we are expanding opportunities for the happiness of our neighbours, our work colleagues, our friends, our relatives.

Of course, there is opposition, but the part in bold (my emphasis) is worth noting:

They [a Roman Catholic group] are urging conservative lawmakers to take legal action to have gay marriages declared unconstitutional.

Some of Spain's local mayors have said they will not officiate at gay marriages.

The Roman Catholic Church wields great influence in Spain, but the BBC's Katya Adler in Madrid says that since the Madrid bomb attacks in March 2004, Spaniards want unity among their people more than anything.

The vote was carried with 187 votes in favour, 147 against and four abstentions.

Ah, unity.  What a contrast to crap like this, in the United States:

Focus on the Family is promoting the truth that homosexuality is preventable and treatable -- a message routinely silenced today. We want people to know that individuals don't have to be gay. That's why we've developed a one-day conference for those looking for answers on this often-divisive issue. Whether you are an educator, parent, concerned citizen or even a gay activist, Love Won Out will inform, inspire and offer you hope.

Oh please.  And then there's out-and-out hatred from Reverend Phelps, who founded godhatesfags.com.

Anyway, much applause for Spain, and other enlightened nations.

If two people love each other and want to commit to each other for a life time...what's the problem? I'm just not getting something. With Canada and now Spain, this has been a great week for our gay family and friends. Let's hope this trend continues!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Jun 30th, 2005 at 12:53:21 PM EST
I can't put myself in the place of these idiots who think gays are sinners, or whatever it is they say.
by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Thu Jun 30th, 2005 at 12:58:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Sweden and Denmark a same sex couple can marry in the Lutheran church.

Sweden and Denmark have "civil union" laws for same-sex couples, which fall short of legalizing gay marriage. However, in both countries the union can be blessed by the Lutheran Church, the state religion in Denmark and the dominant one in Sweden.

Since 1989, gay marriage has been a reality in Scandinavia. And in Scandinavia, just as is happening now in the U.S., many members of the religious right predicted 'terrible consequences' for the institution of marriage, and for society in general, as a result.

Yet now, 15 years after the first of these countries (Denmark) legalized gay marriage in the form of registered partnerships, the results are in: not only has gay marriage worked flawlessly in Scandinavia, the institution of marriage may have benefited as a result. Indeed, we now see that the main "consequences" of allowing gays and lesbians to marry have been to create safety and security for same-sex couples who have chosen to live their lives together.

USA WELCOME: Make Yourself Known @BooMan Tribune and add some cheers!

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Jun 30th, 2005 at 01:32:12 PM EST
Yes, gay marriage has certainly destroyed the fabric of society in the countries in which it is legal...

</Rick Santorum>

by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Thu Jun 30th, 2005 at 01:35:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France has had a civil union (PACS) since 1999. Intererstingly, this civil contract is also available to non-same-sex couples and has proved popular with them as well.

Gay couples still cannot formally marry or adopt children as couples.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 30th, 2005 at 01:48:45 PM EST
This was one of the top stories [Japanese news] in international news at the Asahi Shimbun too, right next to Schwarzenegger's announcement that he didn't anticipate running again.
by citizen on Thu Jun 30th, 2005 at 07:43:27 PM EST
Well, this is an important and controversial issue, so I do not think we should all simply rejoice about the recent news in Spain, but try to open up a bit the debate.

Do not worry, I will not bring up the arguments of the homophobic web sites referred to in the opening entry. These people are not only homophobic, I think they simply have not understood we live in a society where people can choose (consciously or not) what life they want to live. I hope their numbers are lower than the noise they make suggests.

A side issue is, assuming society let gay live the way they wish and they do not suffer from violence or discrimination (and we are not quite there yet), why should gay people need to marry at all? Isn't this a purely formal thing, one might argue. Then obviously you could ask why heterosexuals would need to marry as well. To a large extent it is a matter of tradition, and I think it is a bit ironic that gays try to mimic that tradition while their cause is to a large extent about breaking away from tradition.

More seriously, I suspect that most people opposing gay marriage do not have an issue with gays living their life as they wish, forming visible and openly gay couples and eventually being bound by marriage. I think they are suspicious of the next move, adoption.

I am not qualified to go into the intense and scientific debate of the psychological consequences of being raised by a gay or lesbian couple.

The issue I think is more what it means in terms of the attitude adults adopt towards children. There is a growing conflict between treating children as autonomous persons with the same rights adults have and at the same time considering that they 'belong' to their parents, and become an object rather than a person. This tendency exists for 'natural' parents, and it is something you must be very careful with as a parent. When you adopt, the risk of considering that the child is 'yours' and denying some of its autonomy and consciousness is getting greater. With gay parents adopting, you will force on the child you own choice (whether conscious or not) as to what his family will be and how it will function. So far adoption has remained an exceptional thing, which is intensely scrutinised and controlled and is allowed only to people who demonstrate they conform to some sort of societal norm, because there is no reason why you should be allowed to impose a marginal or eccentric way of living to an adopted child. When it come to gay parents, you will impose your choice of forming a gay family to your child, and also adoption might become much more common, while it should only be something exceptional. It will swing from being an exceptional favour granted to very few parents and which comes with significant responsibilities, to a normal and common thing, and hence with a lower degree of responsibility for the parents. As a result, the child will be considered more as an object than an autonomous person. I think this is an issue we cannot let go easily.

Any contrasting views?

'La fin désastreuse a répondu aux moyens indignes' Germain Tillion

by Rom on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 05:08:13 AM EST
that I agree...

I am not comfortable with adoption by homosexual parents. And the arguments that many kids today live in "recomposed" families is not a valid one - i.e. it's not because people use today's freedoms to do things that are not great for kids that we should give other people the same rights to put kids in less than optimal environments. And yes, they will be loved, and yes, I know that gays will do fine parents, but having two mothers or two fathers, like having a stepmother or stepfather, is not the best  - and in the case of gay couples, it is unavoidable.

So, should we give gays the right to be as irresponsible as traditional parents can be? I lean towards no.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 05:33:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The measure should be if that particular child in that case would be better off; not if in general heterosexual or homosexual parenting is the most optimum.

I think it should be judged on a case-by-case basis not on a general issue of what society should or should not do.  If a child would be better off with 2 parents then why oppose that option?  

Also many times this is a false choice.  The options are often having 1 parent or two; not between having two heterosexual parents or two homosexual ones.  Is a child is better off with just 1 parent?  

by rast (deavod (at) hotmail (dot] com) on Sat Jul 2nd, 2005 at 11:22:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree as well.  In fact, I became a user here just to respond to Rom and Jerome.  First off, I'm not sure how it works in Europe.  Rom suggests that marriage is simply a traditional formality.  In the US that is not true, marriage confers rights and privileges to a couple that civil unions do not.  Two offhand examples, if I marry someone not from the US, they would be eligible for visa/citizenship and could live in the US.  A civil union would not be able to do this. Also, health care is a biggie as well.  In a domestic partnership (and I believe civil unions as well) you can claim your SO and they get benefits from your employer.  However, any money your employer contributes toward their benefits must be claimed as income on your tax returns at the end of the year and just so you know this amt. usually isn't trivial--what I've seen quoted is usually over $7,000/year.  There is a list of over 1400 new "rights" that come with marriage that aren't coferred in civil unions and domestic partnerships.  That's why there is a difference.

As for the adoption issue, I find it interesting that you'd support gay couples committing themselves (and, I assume, their love) to each other in the eyes of the law, friends, and family but then tell them they aren't allowed to share in the joy of parenthood simply because they are gay or lesbian.  Think about that for a minute, especially if you have your own children-because they are gay or lesbian.  Even Jerome says "they will be loved and yes , I know that gays will do fine parents, but having two mothers or two fathers, like having a stepmother or stepfather, is not the best"--

First off, how do you know this?  On either count, the step parent vs. gay/lesbian parent?  If a parent passed away when the child was young (say 3 yrs.or less) would having a step parent at say, age 5, create a traumatic childhood experience that would scar that poor, helpless toddler for life?  Or would having a stable two parent household be better for the child?  What if a they were 10 or 12 and their mom or dad's ex-spouse was abusive but the step-parent is loving, understanding, hell maybe they go to counseling together.  I suppose that child would be better off with his/her original parents (or just the one) instead?  Does that previous example mean that there are special circumstances when step parents are a-okay?  But, I suppose gay/lesbian parents NEVER are because they're homosexual?  

I searched peer reviewed scientific literature on pubmed (only cursory mind you, so you might have strong scientific literature that refutes what I found).  Although I wasn't able to access many of the full articles, based on the abstracts which usually state the conclusions of the research, the general consensus seemed to be that children of lesbian parents were, psychologically, no more likely to have problems than those of straight families.  From one review article (Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Jun;17(3):309-12.)  that I could access:  "Children raised by lesbian mothers were no different in terms of psychological and behavioral development from children raised by heterosexual mothers [13-16,21]. In addition, there were no differences in terms of gender identity or gender development in the children of lesbians as compared with children raised in heterosexual homes [9*,10,13,21].

Unfortunately, little is known about gay parenting, since gay men either being allowed to adopt, raising children from a marriage, etc. is still not socially acceptable (and reflected in your comments quite frankly).  One point that they do make however, is this: "Studies of gender identity, gender role behavior, and sexual orientation found no differences between children of gay men and children of heterosexual fathers. Children of gay fathers are not more likely to become homosexual nor are they more likely to be sexually molested by their gay fathers [25].

The caveats in this are the small sample size of gay parented children may be skewing the data and that additional studies are needed.  In addition, I tried to research the impact factor of the journal and it doesn't seem to be very high (impact factor is based on the number of times an article is cited) however, I couldn't find impact factors for a number of the social sciences/psych journals...I could be looking in the wrong places since I'm a neuroscientist, not a social scientist.  

I'd also like to point out to Rom that one could easily argue who gets to determine what is marginal or eccentric?  Having a two parent household, where a child is loved and cared for is eccentric?  Marginal?   Societal norms change.  What about a stay at home Dad...in the 50's  that would have been quite the marginal and eccentric family.  Dad stays at home raising the kids and mom makes the money?!?  Back then that type of family was absurd (i.e marginal and eccentric) and I'd bet that some thought the kids would have psychological problems as well.

You also mention  "imposing your choice of forming a gay family to your child"  the question then becomes is gay good, bad, or equal to heterosexual families.  Because when you think about it, heterosexual families impose their choice of forming a heterosexual family on their children and I don't see you questioning that.

I know this reply was really long, but to end I'd like to modify what Jerome said:

Should we give gays the rights to be as RESPONSIBLE and loving as traditional parents can be?  I lean towards yes.

Please, don't let your assumptions and prejudices blind you to fact.  There is nothing to argue that gays or lesbians would be any worse at parenting than your typical heterosexual parents.  If anything, opening up adoption to gays and lesbians would provide loving homes to children who might otherwise never have the opportunity to become part of a family rather than a failure of the system.

by notableabsence (notableabsence@yahoo.com) on Sat Jul 2nd, 2005 at 03:05:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be honest, I do not have a strong opinion on this topic, I sort of lean to the side I wrote about above, and I've had that conversation before a few times with a close member of my family who is gay, so it's not like it's a purely abstract topic for me - it's a question of nephews or nieces...

I'm always happy to have new arguments to get me to change my (traditional) position here!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 3rd, 2005 at 04:20:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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