Quick! Emergency Marriage!

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Governments are falling all around Europe: Greece, Italy – and next, after national elections happening tomorrow, the Spanish government. True, the current Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has had enough and won’t be standing for re-election himself, but polls show a crushing defeat is in store for his successor at the head of Spain’s Socialist Party, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba. What else do you expect, with > 20% unemployment, shaky banks and a government imposing more and more austerity even as it flirts with default anyway?

The next Prime Minister will surely be the leader of Spain’s other major party, the right-wing Partido Popular (commonly translated as “People’s Party”), Mariano Rajoy, to the point that Rajoy has already started issuing messages (e.g. “Give us a break!”) meant for the European financial establishment. But there’s another area of policy (among many, admittedly) where he has held strict radio silence:

Espagne : mariages gays express sur le Web avant les élections http://t.co/FMHPonil

@lemondefr

Le Monde


That’s right: Strict old, conservative Spain actually turned out to be rather progressive back in 2005, when it approved homosexual marriage. (Actually, not only that, but also gay couple adoption and inheritance rights to same-sex partners.) But that was when the Socialists were in power. Would the conservative People’s Party – especially if it comes in with the expected landslide – repeal that? After all, at the time they did vote against the 2005 laws pretty much en bloc.

As this article from Le Monde shows, many thousands of Spanish gays are not willing to take that chance. So it turns out that this very weekend is an especially festive and happy one there on the Iberian Peninsula as the number of marriages is WAY above normal. Well OK: maybe rather “festive” and “happy,” considering the constrained circumstances – but in all cases certainly “gay.”

“But how can Spain’s marriage infrastructure handle this rat-through-the-python bulge in demand”? you might be asking. (OK, maybe you wouldn’t particularly use “marriage infrastructure.”) One thing that is helping a lot is a high-tech innovation from the small Andalusian village of Jun, near Granada, whose mayor, José Antonio Rodriguez, has set up a system for marrying people on-line. It only takes five days; you don’t actually have to visit there; and apparently you’ll be completely, legally married afterwards. Rodriguez says that, whereas Jun had only eleven same-sex marriages in all of 2010, it now does fifty per week.

Who knows? Maybe that same sort of solution is for you – IF you share that particular sexual preference, have arranged a willing partner to join you in conjugal bliss, and know at least a little bit of Spanish. You can follow Mayor Rodriguez on Twitter at @alcaldejun (38,180 followers when last I looked!).

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