MADRID, Spain — Spain’s interior minister on Sunday waded into the ongoing debate over same-sex marriage, declaring that “the survival of the species” was at stake.
Jorge Fernandez Diaz argued during a symposium on religion and state at the Spanish embassy in Rome, that “religious reasons” were not arguments against a law allowing same sex marriage. Instead, he insisted that, “There are rational arguments to back the idea that these marriages shouldn’t have the same protection under the law as normal ones.
“For example, the survival of the species is not guaranteed,” the minister said.
Members of the Popular Party, which controls Spain’s conservative government, have sought to distance themselves from Diaz’s remarks while LGBT advocacy groups called for his resignation.
Inaki Oyarzabal, the secretary of justice, said the comments were “unfortunate.” Oyarzabal, who became the first Popular Party parliamentarian to be openly gay when he came out last June, wrote on his Twitteraccount, “The unfortunate words of Fernandez Diaz on marriage between same-sex couples are personal and in no way linked to the PP.”
Spain’s National Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (FELGTB) called on Fernandez-Diaz to resign for “re-questioning, in unscientific terms, the issue of same-sex marriages, a law supported by the vast majority of Spaniards and which was recently endorsed by the Constitutional Court.”
In November, Spain’s highest court upheld a law legalizing same-sex marriage brought in by the socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero nearly 8 years ago.The Popular Party lost their seven-year battle to overturn the law when the Constitutional Court rejected an appeal contending that marriage in the Spanish constitution meant only the union between a man and a woman.
In 2005, Spain became the world’s third country to legalize marriage equality; since then, more than 22,000 same-sex marriages have taken place in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.