MADRID, Spain (BP)–Spain appears ready to legalize “gay marriage,” but a handful of the nation’s mayors say they will defy the law and refuse to perform any ceremonies.
One mayor, Francisco Javier Leon de la Riva, says he’ll ignore the law.
“I intend not to exercise this right and not to delegate it to other municipal officials,” Leon de la Riva, mayor of Valladolid, was quoted as saying in Reuters. “If the law forces me [to marry homosexual couples], I shall object on the grounds of conscience.”
Leon de la Riva is a member of the Popular Party.
A bill legalizing “gay marriage” passed parliament’s lower house April 21 on a vote of 183-136. It still must pass the Senate and once more in the lower house but is expected to become law.
Spain would join Belgium and the Netherlands as the only countries to legalize “gay marriage.” Seven provinces in Canada and one state in the U.S. also have legalized “gay marriage.”
At least three other mayors also oppose the bill, BBC News reported. One of those, Lluis Fernando Caldentey, mayor of Pontons, said “gay marriage” is “immoral.”
Roman Catholic bishops in Spain have denounced the bill multiple times in public statements.
Meanwhile, homosexual news services are reporting that the Spanish government says it will not tolerate mayors defying the law.
The legislation is being pushed by the ruling Socialist Party, which came to power following the Madrid train bombings in March 2004. Polls show that Spanish citizens support “gay marriage.”
GOVERNMENT MAY FALL IN CANADA — The four major political parties in Canada have split into camps over a no-confidence vote that may face the governing Liberals in coming weeks.
If the Liberal party falls and the opposition Conservative Party comes to power, a Liberal-backed bill legalizing “gay marriage” almost certainly would die. The Liberals are in the midst of a political and financial scandal that some are calling Canada’s version of “Watergate.” It could force an election within months, even though an election was held just last year.
Because the Liberals do not have a majority of seats in the House of Commons, they must receive support from the other parties to stay in power.
The Liberals and the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) reached a deal April 26, whereby the Liberals added $4.6 billion in NDP-backed spending to the new 2005 budget and in return received an NDP promise to vote against any no-confidence motion.
That left the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois in an awkward partnership. The two parties have virtually nothing in coming, other than a desire to see the Liberal government fall. The Liberal-NDP deal had Conservative leader Stephen Harper promising a no-confidence vote. He would become prime minister if the Conservatives were to win the election. Harper and the Conservatives oppose “gay marriage.”
“As soon as Parliament gets back, I will be asking our caucus to put this government out of its misery as early as possible,” Harper said, according to CanWest News Service. “I’m flabbergasted by the amount of taxpayers’ money these guys are prepared to throw around to keep themselves in office.”
Unlike the United States, Canada does not have scheduled elections. An election would be held roughly one month after it is called.
According to the Toronto Star, the Liberals and NDP have a combined 150 seats in the House. The Conservatives and Bloc have 153. There are three independents — one of whom has said she would vote with the Liberals; another says he likely would vote against them.
Even with the Liberal-NDP deal, the odds are against the Liberals avoiding an election, the Star reported.
NAVAJO NATION BANS ‘GAY MARRIAGE’ — The tribal council of the Navajo Nation, the largest American Indian reservation, passed a ban on “gay marriage” April 22, Reuters reported. The bill passed unanimously, 63-0, despite the opposition of Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr.
The Navajo Nation has 300,000 members, Reuters said.
TEXAS HOUSE PASSES BAN — The Texas House of Representatives passed a state constitutional marriage amendment April 25 by a vote of 101-29. It now must pass the state Senate before it goes to voters. The amendment would protect the traditional definition of marriage, thus banning “gay marriage.”
“I think marriage is important enough to the people of this state that it deserves the highest level of protection,” state Rep. Warren Chisum, a Republican, was quoted as saying in the Associated Press.
Four states already have placed marriage amendments on the ballot in 2006: Alabama, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee.
A marriage amendment has never failed at the ballot. Eighteen states have adopted them, with an average of 70 percent of the vote.
The amendments prevent state courts from legalizing “gay marriage.” But because the amendments can be overturned in federal court, pro-family leaders are pushing for a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage