Turning from from radical Islam to institutional Christianity, the action of Spain's legislature is predictably being viewed as an early challenge to Pope Benedict XVI. Unlike the recent flap over the Spanish bishops' apparent endorsement of condoms in some circumstances (from which the Spaniards quickly backed down), the Spanish hierarchy and Rome see eye-to-eye on this one. As for the Vatican:
Benedict XVI is a deeply conservative pope who has taken a strong line in the past on gays, calling homosexual orientation a tendency toward "intrinsic moral evil."And as for the Spanish Bishops Conference:
Last year, conference spokesman Antonio Martinez Camino said allowing gay marriage was like "imposing a virus on society...."And to think that some gays and lesbians are so anti-Christian that they mistake expressions of religious belief for hatred and loathing!
With respect to the current bill, the Spanish Bishops Conference has said that it is "unfair that real marriage should be treated the same as the union of persons of the same sex." I hope there's a problem in translation. If the issue is fairness, the marriage equality side wins. The pro-discrimination side wins if there's a good reason to discriminate, e.g., homosexuality is evil or same-sex marriages will harm society in some fashion. I don't think I've ever heard even the James Dobsons argue that same-sex marriage is "unfair" when the issue has been debated in the U.S.
A number of us on this blog, like a lot of commentators elsewhere, have noted that time is on the side of equality. That's why the antis need the Hate Amendment: to freeze the status quo. Let a decade or two go by, and gay marriage will become more and more accepted by more and more straight people. The wave of state-level hate amendments in November suggested that there is an overwhelming majority against marriage equality right now, but on a broader view, the trend toward equality seems to be picking up some momentum.
A few years ago, same-sex marriage was legal nowhere, and even broaching the idea seemed ridiculous. Soon, it will be legal in 3 European countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain. In each, it will have been adopted democratically, not by court order. Two of the countries are predominantly Catholic, and the other has a substantial Catholic population and has had the Christian Democrats in almost every government since World War II. And in the same week that Spain made its move, Connecticut legalized civil unions (again over the Church's objection, by the way, in a state that's 44% Catholic). Then we have Vermont, where the court required (more or less) civil unions, and where in the interim they've become widely (though not, of course, universally) accepted, plus schizophrenic California, which has both a ban on same-sex marriage and a statute giving same-sex couples almost all rights of marriage except for tax treatement.
The future is coming faster than I had thought. Mark my words: if any of the California kids (oldest are now 6 1/2) reaches marrigeable age and wants to tie the knot with someone of the same sex, it's not going to be a big hassle legally or socially in any place where they'd choose to settle.