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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Spain witnesses first ‘gay wedding’; civil unions pass Ore. Senate; settlement reached in Md. case

MADRID, Spain (BP)–The first same-sex “wedding” in Spain was conducted July 11 when two homosexual men exchanged vows in a small town near Madrid in front of family, friends and a crowd of journalists.

It was the first “gay marriage” there since Spain joined Belgium and the Netherlands as the only countries to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Canada is expected to join that list after its Senate passes a “gay marriage” bill. It already has passed the House of Commons.

The Spanish wedding included a Spaniard and a man from the United States, the BBC reported.

“We’re normal people who love each other and want to be happy,” one of the men, Emilio Menendez, said after the ceremony, according to CNN.com.

The officiating councilman junked the traditional “husband” and “wife” script and instead concluded the service by telling the two men, “I declare you, united in matrimony.”

Although Spain’s first “gay marriage” involved two men, statistics show that the majority of “weddings” there likely will involve lesbians.

In Massachusetts, approximately two-thirds of “gay marriages” have involved females, according to statistics published in The Boston Globe. The stats included more than 6,100 “weddings” performed between May 2004 and February of this year.

Conservatives say such stats underscore the fact that homosexuality itself is unnatural. Focus on the Family sociologist Glenn Stanton told Baptist Press last year that because women tend to be more relationship-driven and men more sexually driven, same-sex relationships end up with an unhealthy “double dose.”

Research has shown that monogamy is rare among homosexual men. A University of Chicago study released in 2003 found that 61 percent of homosexual men in Chicago’s Shoreland area had had more than 30 sexual partners.

Lesbian relationships also are unhealthy and the women tend to expect “too much” out of the relationship, said Stanton, the coauthor of “Marriage on Trial: The Case against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting.”

SETTLEMENT IN MD. SCHOOL CASE — A settlement in a much-publicized Maryland sex-ed school lawsuit was reached in late June when the Montgomery County (Md.) School Board voted unanimously to approve an agreement reached with conservative groups.

According to the pro-family legal group Liberty Counsel, under the agreement, the board cannot denigrate religious beliefs regarding homosexuality and it must give parents notice as to what will be taught so they will have the opportunity to opt out.

“We are pleased that the radical, biased and inaccurate homosexual sex-ed curriculum was blocked by the federal court and that the case has now been settled,” Liberty Counsel President Mathew D. Staver said in a statement…. This case sends a message that school boards do not have unfettered discretion to indoctrinate our youth and use them as human experiments. We will carefully monitor any further actions by the school board. If a similar curriculum were to surface, we will not hesitate to go back to court.”

The conservative groups won a lawsuit against the school board in May when a federal judge prevented the proposed curriculum from taking effect. The curriculum, developed for eighth- and 10th-graders, claimed that Jesus “said absolutely nothing at all about homosexuality” and that being homosexual is similar to being left-handed. It also noted that some Baptist churches once defended racial segregation, implying that conservative Baptists today are wrong in opposing homosexuality.

CIVIL UNIONS IN ORE. — The Oregon Senate passed a bill July 8 that would legalize civil unions, sending it to the House of Representatives, where it faces an uphill climb. Democrats control the Senate, Republicans the House.

The bill passed by a vote of 19-10. If it becomes law, Oregon would join Vermont and Connecticut as the only states to legalize civil unions, which award same-sex couples the legal benefits of marriage. But a spokesman for House Speaker Karen Minnis told the Salem Statesman Journal newspaper that there are no plans to consider the bill in that chamber.

FASTTRACK IN CALIF.? — California Attorney General Bill Lockyer asked the state Supreme Court July 1 to consider the issue of “gay marriage” this year, thereby bypassing the state appeals court, the Associated Press reported. In March a lower court judge overturned the state’s ban on “gay marriage.” The ruling is being appealed.

CALIF. LAW UPHELD — California’s same-sex domestic partnership law survived a legal challenge June 29 when the California Supreme Court refused to hear a lawsuit against it. The court allowed a lower court ruling that had upheld the law to stand. Several conservative groups had challenged the law, saying it violates voter-approved Proposition 22, which bans “gay marriage.” The domestic partnership law allows same-sex couples to receive some of the benefits of marriage.

MASS. REP. CHANGES MIND — Massachusetts state Rep. Bradford Hill, a Republican, has decided to oppose a marriage amendment when it comes up for a second vote in the legislature this fall, The Boston Globe reported June 25. He supported the amendment last year when it passed the first time. The amendment, which would ban “gay marriage” while legalizing civil unions, must pass the legislature again in order to be placed on the 2006 ballot.

CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST MAYOR — The prosecutor in the case of New Paltz, N.Y. Mayor Jason West dropped charges July 12, saying a trial would gain nothing and actually could end up helping West’s cause. West had been charged with illegally presiding over a series of illegal “gay weddings” in February 2004. According to The New York Times, Ulster County Attorney Donald A. Williams said a trial likely would be “exploited by those with a greater interest in publicity than the public good.”

MICH. LAWSUIT DROPPED — A federal lawsuit challenging Michigan’s constitutional marriage amendment was dropped in June, the Associated Press reported July 11. A similar lawsuit filed by the Michigan ACLU is still pending in state court. The lesbian couple who filed the federal suit said they would re-file if the ACLU loses its state case.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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  • Michael Foust