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Spaniards support legalization of gay marriage

Spaniards support legalization of gay marriage

As the socialist government in the traditionally Catholic country of Spain draws up legislation to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed, a new poll shows that two thirds of Spaniards back the move. The Centre for Sociological Investigations (CIS) showed 66.2% of a random sample of 2,400 people said they felt gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry, Agence France-Presse reports. Just less than half the sample, 48.2%, said they thought same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children, with 44.6% opposed, according to the poll, conducted in June. Three quarters of those polled said that where children are concerned, the overriding factor is the good of the individual child regardless of its guardian's sexual orientation. Overall, 42.9% of the poll sample said they believed they were "very tolerant" toward homosexuality, although 40.9% disagreed with it. Since his March election, socialist prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has placed the issue near the top of a liberal social agenda. Although Spanish bishops have spoken out against Zapatero's plans on gay marriages, the CIS poll showed the Catholic Church is steadily losing influence. According to 88% of those polled, gays should not be subject to any kind of legal discrimination, although that fell to 79% when they were asked if homosexuality was as respectable as heterosexuality. Whereas Spain is nominally 95% Catholic, only 79.1% of the poll sample defined themselves as such, and 48% said they almost never attend Mass. During the 1939-1975 military dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco, homosexuality was officially banned.

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