Encouraged by the success of Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriages in California, the head of Spain's conference of bishops wants a similar measure on the ballot here. Spain approved marriage between two people of the same sex three years ago.
Madrid's Archbishop Antonio María Rouco Varela spoke Thursday on COPE radio network, which is owned by the archbishops and which features commentators similar to Rush Limbaugh. "This form of approaching the idea of marriage, in which sexual differences play no role, goes against civilization," Rouco said. "Not just Catholic civilization, but against all civilizations."
Spain's National Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Transsexuals and Bisexuals responded by pointing to opinion polls show that most Spaniards support gay marriage but not the Catholic Church's privileged financial and legal status. If there were a referendum on marriage, the federation said, there should also be one asking about the relationship between the Church and the state.
Spain's extremely conservative Catholic hierarchy has always been active in politics, and in the last few years has been organizing "pro-family" and "pro-life" movements based on US models. Consultants from the US have provided help.
I am dismayed to see the worst of American politics — the divisiveness and venom that has done so much harm back home — taking root here, with all its absurd, false claims and fear-mongering.