Mayors voice opposition to legalization of same-sex marriage in Spain
In response to a bill legalizing same-sex marriage that was passed by Spain's lower house of parliament last week, conservative mayors in several of this predominantly Catholic nation's provincial capitals have said they will refuse to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, reports Agence France-Presse. "Even if the law allows me to marry homosexuals, I will not exercise this
authority," said Javier Leon de la Riva, mayor of Valladolid, according to a report by the daily La Razón. "I do not have a problem with these couples having the same rights as the rest of the citizens. But what does not seem right is that their union should be called a marriage," he added. The newspaper also cited other mayors in such Spanish cities as Leon and Avila as having the same opinion.
The law making same-sex marriages legal still needs the approval of the senate. If passed by the upper house of parliament, Spain would become only the third European country after the Netherlands and Belgium to legalize such unions. The measure has triggered strong opposition from leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and several other religions.
The proposed law requires judges and civil leaders such as mayors to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples. Spanish justice minister Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar said Tuesday the law
allowing same-sex marriage is a matter of civil rights and obligations, regulated by parliament. Public officials cannot refuse to abide by the law, he said on Punto Radio, adding that it is a matter of conscience. "Nor does it have anything to do with religion or with a sacrament," he said.