500,000 march against same-sex marriage

Hundreds of thousands of people led by 20 Catholic bishops and conservative opposition leaders clogged downtown Madrid yesterday to demonstrate against the Socialist government's Bill to legalise gay marriage and let gay couples adopt children.

According to the Herald Sun, about 500,000 people chanted in favour of the family and children's rights in a march called by a lay Catholic group the Spanish Forum for the Family.

Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega accused protesters of discrimination and of wanting to deny to others they rights they enjoyed.

The new law "does not oblige anyone to do anything they don't want to do", Ms Fernandez de la Vega she said.

The gay marriage Bill is expected to be law in a matter of weeks. It has been passed by the lower chamber of Parliament and will be voted on next week by the Senate.

The Bishops' Conference last week slammed the gay marriage bill as the biggest challenge to the Catholic church and its values in 2000 years.

It was the first time the church has given such a display of anti-government activism in more than 20 years.

Opinion polls indicate most Spaniards support the Bill.

500,000 fight gay marriage (Herald Sun 20/6/05)

Cardinals attack Spanish Bill on same-sex marriage (CathNews 27/4/05)
Adelaide Archbishop backs equal rights for gay couples (CathNews 17/3/05)
Bishop has 'no difficulty' with civil recognition for gay couples (CathNews 27/10/04)
NZ gay law 'to make moral wasteland' (CathNews 29/6/04)
Bishop says gay marriage advocates flattering "real" marriage (CathNews 3/3/04)
Boston archbishop supports gay couples to protect children (CathNews 27/10/03)
Pope speaks out against gay marriage (CathNews 11/6/03)
Judge apologises to gay activists on behalf of Catholic Church (CathNews 3/2/03)

Huge protests against Madrid gay bill (The Age 19/6/05)
Raphael's secret (The Age 19/6/05)
Vatican Web Page Has New Connections (Catholic Online 18/6/05)
Kiev patriarch says Orthodox Church and Vatican should work together (Catholic News Agency 17/6/05)
Vatican to tackle growing problem of trafficking, sex trade (Catholic News Agency 17/6/05)

20 Jun 2005