Friday, July 01, 2005

Spain's latest laws

I note that Spain passed a law yesterday legalizing gay marriage. I know I'm supposed to be all worked up about it - one way or the other - but I'm not. I have absolutely nothing against gay people getting married. So long as they are required to abide by the same laws I am on the matter, I have no issue with it. The Catholic Church does have an issue with it as do many other religions and political groups. I simply can't see two men or two women getting married as a threat to my marriage. If the act of those folks getting married is supposed to somehow be affecting my marriage, then why is it that people getting divorced is supposed to not affect it? Should we be passing laws banning divorce?

By the same token, I'm not convinced that gay people absolutely need to be able to wave a state marriage license in everyone's face in order to protect their rights and grant them the same capabilities as married couples. (Briefly, does it strike anyone oddly that I need to be licensed to be married to my wife, but I can fly an experimental aircraft over your house without one?) There exists in our legal system the means for gay couples to share property and transfer assets on death, to be able to make medical decisions for their partner and to share medical insurance coverage without being married. In my experience, it's the word "marriage" that my gay friends are hung up on and I suspect strongly that it's not the relationship they're worked up over, but the inclusion of a socially acceptable state into their lifestyle. It's one more item they can claim membership in that the rest of society tags with its "normal/acceptable" sticker and that, it would appear, is the status they're interested in.

If the "ban gay marriage" crowd has an issue its that they, too, are placing way too much importance on the word and that particular license in an effort to maintain arms' length from a lifestyle they consider wrong. The only reason they have for this "defense of marriage" is that they're outraged anyone would think of marriage in a manner they don't. They don't have any rational reasoning behind it - they've just decided that's how they feel and they can't seem to get it when someone doesn't just feel the same way. If the crew that wants gay marriages recognized right alongside the hetero marriages has an issue it's that they're being very aggressive in getting in everyone's face on the matter. It's not enough that there's people that are amenable to the idea, those people need to become screaming activists and they need to do it right now! People here in the States don't respond too well to that and the tactic of the gay marriage supporters in going to court over it is backfiring for that reason. That's why there were 11 States in 2004 that amended their constitutions to define marriage in such a way that no State judge can rule that gay marriages must be allowed. The people in those States saw that kind of ruling as judicial activism and took the steps codified in our legal system to address the issue. That's how its supposed to be done, right?

I must admit I was surprised by the wave of such amendments. Before that election, I was pretty convinced that such an amendment would never pass. I was wrong. I was equally surprised by Spain's passage of such a law, given that country's deeply religious and mostly Catholic roots. Of course, I wasn't factoring in a socialist government, and that's where the difference lies. I read this morning (hat tip: Chrenkoff) that this isn't the only law addressing the scope of marriage that Spain's making a decision on:

:::::::: SPANISH men will be required to scrub toilets and change nappies as often as their harried wives under revolutionary reforms aimed at shattering the traditionally macho Latin nation's patriarchal division of labour in the home.

Changes to the marriage contract supported by the Socialist Government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, along with conservative Catholic and right-wing politicians, will force men and women to promise not only fidelity but equal shares of housework, childrearing and care of the elderly until death they do part.

As Australia grapples with Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward's report calling on men to do their fair share of household chores, Spain has used the force of law to propel lazy husbands off their couches and marital beds and into the historically female territory of the kitchen, bathroom and nursery.

The historically socially conservative Catholic country dominated by a male hierarchy is undergoing a delayed social revolution, evidenced by yesterday's decision by Spain's parliament to legalise gay marriage.

Well, that's an interesting approach. We'll handle balancing out the housework by passing a law making it illegal to be imbalanced. Ah, socialism at its finest. I have a real problem with the passing of a law where no serious intent to enforce it exists, and that's what we have here. I note that there are conservative groups and, yes, the Catholic Church that support this law, although I'm sure they understand it's not going to be enforceable. Mind you, I don't have an issue with making marriages a more partner-centered thing, as opposed to a "me man - you woman - you do all work and I only do bunga-bunga" type of deal. I'm just pretty sure that passing a law isn't going to make the changes desired.

As a final note, I see that someone's getting entirely too weird about the issue:

::::::::Attempts to blast Spanish males out of their cosy reliance on women as girlfriends, wives, chefs, cleaners, childcarers and custodians of the elderly include technological changes to household appliances. The latest washing machine, named "Your Turn", prevents the same person - typically a wife and mother - from using the appliance consecutively by adopting fingerprint recognition technology.::::::::

Hope the wife has a close friend to help with the washing machine if they husband goes on a week-long business trip.