Marriage is a holy matrimony between two people. Until recently marriage was taken to involve people of opposite sex but currently, same sex marriage has received some recognition. Gay marriage has in the last few years become a subject of controversy all over the world This paper investigates the law that govern the practice in the US and Spain, giving it a social outlook and stating those who are opposed to it advancement. It gives the stand point of cultural and religious institutions, and the perception or stereotype that it is an erosion of moral standards and family values of society.
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Legal status and social outlook of the countries
Whereas the US can be seen to be flexible in law making and cultures and moral erosion, the law has remained a debated issue. Spain on the other hand has a major perception of being conservative and strict in law making, but the law of same-sex marriage was debated and passed in 2005. On Sunday, 3 July 2005, it became legal in Spain to practice same-sex marriage; it was the third country to legalize gay marriages after Netherlands and Belgium (ILGA-Europe, 1998 p.2).
In United States however, the law makers have been making efforts to incorporate it into the federal law. The federal government does not allow gay marriages and it is blocked by the Defense of Marriage Act. The practice is only legal in four of the fifty states which include; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Lowa, and Vermont while in New Hampshire, it will become effective January 1, 2010. Also, other states like California had allowed gay marriages for sometime between June 16, 2008 and November 4, 2008, and those marriage unions that occurred during that time are still recognized. California State recognizes same-sex marriages from other states and foreign countries that were performed on or before 4th November 2008. Some states like New York and Washington D.C. recognize same-sex marriage from other states and foreign countries, but they do not allow it or issue same-sex marriage certificates.
In Spain, the law allows the Spaniards to marry a non Spanish even if the law of that individual’s country does not allow gay marriages. This was ruled by the justice ministry, and also allowed two non Spanish to marry if they have legal status or residence in Spain not withstanding that their homelands do not allow gay marriages. The law provides restrictions for gay couples on children possession; couples can only have children though adoption and even though a woman who are legally married in a gay marriage get pregnant by breaking the vows of marriage, the child is not recognized as hers but she must go through the process of adopting the child by law (Platero, n.d. para.4).
Homosexuality was illegal during the period of Francisco Franco in Spain through the Vagrant Act, and it was until 1979 when the law was appealed. Civil unions protested against the oppression and denial of human right. President Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar fulfilled his promise of same-sex marriage by legalizing it in his inauguration. The passing of the legalization of gay marriages law was met with different reactions from different people. For the gay community, it was jubilation and celebration; for the church, it was seen as lack of respect for the natures and morals of society and family values. The Catholic Church was very actively seen to denounce the bill but never gathered enough evidence to derail the bill. In fact, Spanish has 80% catholic followers and therefore it’s ironical that such a bill could be passed yet it does not conform to the teachings of the religion (Rimmerman, & Wilcox, 2007 p.10).
In US, the federal law completely does not allow gay marriages but it gives the states the rights to allow or ban it (Cahill, 2004 p.11). Civil rights groups and advocates of same-sex marriages have been involved in many demonstrations and law battles, claiming that same-sex marriage prohibition involves denying civil rights to the minority. Activist for the ban on same-sex marriages claim that legalizing the marriages causes severe harm to the family structure and society at large.
Whether in Spain or in the US, the general fact is that homosexuals are trying to prove a right that society declares evil and a corruption of good righteous morals of society to justify a side show of events (Polikoff, 2008 p.83). The homosexuals have been facing homophobic attitudes from members of society. Any society that is allowing this union is terming itself flexible and mindful of the rights of minority but the act is a perception of disguise especially to the religious fed community that believe in the statutes of family value. For a long time, homosexual’s rights have been denied through discrimination and segregation.
In almost all cultures in the world, gay marriage has been viewed as a moral decay and there is no society that is ready to accommodate it. The perception of being westernized and liberal in human rights violations should not be used to legalize actions that are going to erode the morals of society but there should be guidance and counseling to the few minority who claim they are discriminated against by law. Recent developments of such rights should be avoided at the early stages of the child’s life through proper guidance. Young people are getting involved in these evil and awkward inventions due to erosion of culture.