Applause for Spain

Spain’s socialist government is moving rapidly to expand both women’s and gay rights. Expatica reports that Spain’s government is drafting a bill that will grant gays the same legal rights as heterosexuals with regard to divorce, inheritance, and citizenship. Adoption by gays will be restricted to Spanish children. In contrast, the opposition Popular Party supports same sex civil unions, and opposes adoption. With Spanish support for same sex marriage reported at 66%, unions of one sort or another seem inevitable.

Meanwhile, Spain is simplifying divorce. Earlier this month the news.telegraph reported that starting next year, Spain will permit divorce within as little as 10 days. It is estimated the typical uncontested divorce will take 2 months, and the total time will be restricted to 6 months. The news.telegraph reports the change is welcomed by Spaniards.

Spain’s prime minister Zapatero is also proposing easing abortion restriction and lifting restrictions on embryo research. More recently, the news.telegraph reports the socialist government is also proposing to keep religious education optional, remove crucifixes from public buildings like prisons, schools and military head quarters, subject religious teachers, who are paid by the government, to secular employment regulations and cut government funding of the Catholic Church by half. A self avowed feminist, Zapatero also plans to modify the law to permit female succession to the throne, and, more importantly, to crack down on domestic violence.

So many changes in so little time. As an American citizen, I know my opinion about all this is of little importance, but I can only smile and applaud!

Update (Friday Oct.1): CNN

“The Cabinet has approved a bill to revise the Civil Code to permit homosexual matrimony,”….

The bill now goes to Parliament, where the Socialist government says it has enough support to pass the law, which could make gay marriage possible by next year.

This entry posted in Same-Sex Marriage. Bookmark the permalink. 

8 Responses to Applause for Spain

  1. 1
    Crys T says:

    YAYYY!!! Maybe it’ll be time for me to move back home soon, if reforms such as these go through!

    “A self avowed feminist,”

    !!!!!! I didn’t know that…though to be honest, I don’t pay much attention to the Socialists (them being, at least in the past, about the most conservative socialists imaginable).

    “Zapatero also plans to modify the law to permit female succession to the throne”

    I’d be happier if he just did away with the monarchy.

  2. 2
    lucia says:

    Well…. I can’t say I understand the function of the Spanish monarchy, nor other European monarchy. But, if you are going to have one, what’s the poing of saying only men can be monarch’s?

  3. 3
    Jake Squid says:

    How much power does the King have in the Spanish government? That’s something that I’ve never known. Is there any political power in the monarchy, or is it wholly symbolic (apart from the vast wealth)?

  4. 4
    Crys T says:

    Ewwww….I’m embarrassed to say that I had to look this one up: to be honest, most people in Spain don’t even think about him all that much. The royal family in Spain is in no way as important to the average person as the British royal family is to the average Brit (I’ve been living in the UK for 6 years, that’s not just an idle observation). Also, they’re nowhere near as rich. The one good thing to be said for them is that, if I’ve heard correctly, they’re the cheapest royal family to maintain in all Europe. Which doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re also a totally unnecessary expense anyway.

    Anyway, I found this website ( ) that outlines it all….and I must say I was surprised to see he’s got as much power as he does–I seriously wonder if he actually does all the stuff set out in the Constitution…I’d always thought of him more as a figurehead than anything else. For example, there’s “It is incumbent upon the King: a) To sanction and promulgate the laws.” I’d be really surprised if he actually did. Hell, I’d be surprised if he actually *understood* most of the laws.

    This is pretty scary….now I’m even more for just abolishing the whole concept of monarchy! And, btw, I have nothing against a woman being next in line for the monarchy, or only women, or whatever: what bothers me is the whole concept of “royalty” in the first place.

  5. 5
    lucia says:

    I think, but I’m not sure, that Juan Carlos actually filled a useful role when Franco died. I’m not sure what would have happened if he hadn’t been proclaimed king, but after he was, he set about restoring democracy. (Which would mean, he quickly set about not graping power!)

    Given the fact that the country made the transition from dictator ship to democracy fairly recenty, Juan Carlos seems less vestigial, and less useless than most monarchs. (And Spain probably gets it’s money’s worth!)

    Anyway, here is a news article.

  6. 6
    Crys T says:

    No, it’s true that he did play an important part in bringing about democracy. I don’t take away from that. But he also did it in such a way that many of Franco’s friends stayed in power, and of course were never punished for a lot of the truly horrible, evil things they did. In fact, the founder of the Partido Popular (the party of Jose Maria Aznar, who were still in power until they disgraced themselves over the train bombing in Madrid), Manuel Fraga, was quite a buddy of Franco’s.

    Also, the fact the Transition was relatively smooth has its obvious good points, but also some less apparent negative ones. The fact that there was never any huge conflict just covered up some festering wounds, especially in those regions that don’t really consider themselves Spanish, like the Basque Country and Catalunya. It has also allowed for a lot of revisionism to go on. For example, a couple of years back, Juan Carlos make a public statement saying that Franco had never tried to suppress the Catalan language. Of course, this is a complete lie, as many people still lving know from painful personal experience, and is a huge slap in the face to all Catalans. Why he did it, I don’t know, but it was a shockingly aggressive act, towards people that he supposedly considers his subjects.

    And even apart from all that, I just don’t see the need for “royalty” in this day and age. Giving that much power to someone who hasn’t been voted in and is therefore not really that accountable seems insane to me.

  7. 7
    lucia says:

    Update: (Not worth a whole article…)
    The Spanish Cabinet approved a gay marriage bill. It’s on it’s way to parliament.

  8. 8
    dkrustyklown says:

    What horrible and terrible things did Franco and the people who administered Spain in the 1960’s and 1970’s do? Franco purged the “falanga” out of his government in the early 1960’s. The policies of the “falanga” (the Spanish fascist party which Franco technically lead) failed miserably in the years immediately following the end of the Spanish Civil War. Franco recognized this, so he purged the government of the hard-line fascists that had supported him during the civil war. For the most part, the “falangistas” were merely fired and told to find another line of work, although some were imprisoned for threatening to start another civil war. Franco replaced them with young “technocrats” who generally didn’t have much of an ideological agenda. Granted, these technocrats were definitely right of center, and they were all Catholic, but they set about reforming Franco’s government in a very positive way. They opened up the press, opened up the university system, spurred foreign industrial investment in Spain, became the first Spanish rulers to legalize Judaism since 1492, and also put alot of effort into social programs to aid the poor. These technocrats are responsible for the “spanish miracle” that occurred during the latter half of Franco’s rule. In this miracle, Spain was brought out of the isolation that it had been. Spain set records (at the time) for economic growth during these years. More importantly, Spain became a much more open place during this time. Manuel Fraga was one of these “technocrats” who helped accomplish all of these wonderful things. He worked in the Ministry of Eduction under Franco. He went on to help found the “Partido Popular” which is the main concservative party in Spain today.

    On a sidenote, the republic that Franco overthrew was a corrupt nest of communists that was guilty of more attrocities than Franco’s government could have ever committed. Before the “alzamiento” that started the civil war, Communist bandits who thought themselves invincible due to the importance of their participation in the coalition government of 1936 were rampaging through the countryside and some of the cities. They killed priests, looted convents and cathedrals, assasinated land-owners in the night, took control of Catholic educational institutions, and most frighteningly, actively spied for the Soviet Union.

    My grandfather helped to hide the treasures of his hometown’s church from the communist millitias that went from town to town looting sacred churches. Not only that, but he and some local landowners organized themselves into a self defense group and ambushed a group of communist millitia members in the outskirst of his hometown of Estepa. They communist millitia was cut down because they were composed of over-intellectual college students whereas the land-owners were ALL war veterans. For this act, my grandfather, several family members, and many citizens of Estepa were rounded up by the Republican government. They were not given the benefit of a trial and were set to be executed by firing squad. By the grace of God, the nationalist army’s advance through southern Spain was swift…so swift that the rear of the column of trucks that was carrying my grandfather to the site of his would-be execution was engaged in combat. News spread through the ranks of republican soldiers on that road that they were doomed. Panick ensued. Republican soldiers who had been on foot now wanted to use the trucks carrying prisoners to escape from the clutches of the nationalist army. They threw prisoners from the trucks. While most Republican units shot the prisoners as they threw them off of the truck, some were too panicked to take the time to do this (some may have merely wanted to conserve ammunition, since nationalist troops were less than a mile behind them). Thankfully, my grandfather was left on the side of the road to wait for liberation by the nationalists. As he put it, “when I saw the red and yellow flag of the Kingdom of Spain approach, I stood up straight and gave the best Roman salute I could”, even though the Republican forces had subjected him to a starvation diet for weeks. Bodies of Andalucians murdered by the Republic littered the highway north of Seville that day.