This week there was a sacrifice at the altar of Notre Dame de Paris. The extremist right winger, Dominique Venner, 78, shot himself in the head. He was an ardent opponent of the immigration of citizens of the developing world to Europe and just hours before his death he wrote a blog post calling for ‘radical resistance’ to the newly passed French same-sex marriage law. Mr. Venner’s pathological narcissism is the perfect illustration of the mind-set exploited by right wing groups/ideology. They build up their self-importance to such an extent where they feel that every action, undertaken anywhere, is directly related to their being. This is the only viable thought process for an individual to be so utterly and personally offended by contracts that only concern the rights of the signatories in regards to each other, as is the case of a marriage contract.
In civil law, which is the only law governments should concern themselves with, marriage is a partnership agreement. Not unlike when two people get together to open a business. In fact my business partnership contract is extraordinarily similar to a marriage contract. There are a series of rights and responsibilities outlined in said contract. If my partner builds up debt, I’m partially liable. I have certain duties regarding the functioning of our business, as does she. The main difference, which is merely technical, is that we’re friends rather than lovers. Mr. Venner’s delusion is tantamount to me being offended by the minutiae of the private contractual agreements he may or may not have had with his wife (if he had one) or his contract with his publisher. I’m quite certain very few, if any, French gays ever concerned themselves with Mr. Venner’s legal or bureaucratic affairs. Worse of all, he led himself to believe that ending his life in a theatrical scene would have an effect on the decisions of private citizens to sign contracts giving each other certain rights. I could go on and on about his grandiose delusions including his choice of venue for his very public suicide, but they speak for themselves.
The past few weeks were a very déjà-vu experience for us. Almost everything that’s been happening in France, then Britain, happened in Spain many years ago. I remember, because I was a vociferous part of it. I campaigned in 2004 and 2005 for gay marriage. We answered the exact same accusations and sometimes even intimidation by right wing political and religious groups. We suffered the indignity of an ardently Catholic doctor named Aquilino Polaino being taken before parliament to give unscientific testimony, dragging out myths of yesteryear, such as gay men being the result of absent fathers and domineering mothers. Sorry lesbians, you never get mentioned by those people because apparently, you don’t exist- you just haven’t met the right guy yet! During Mr. Polaino’s testimony, I was sitting at the computer, and I was researching his writing. I had the tremendous pleasure of finding his essays on demonic possession. Before his testimony was over, I’d sent hundreds of letters to every LGBT association in Spain with copies of it and to the dean of the University at which he was said to work. In reality he didn’t even work there anymore. The dean put out a statement and sent me a very nice personal note. The aftermath of Polaino’s testimony is history. Later, the Catholic church paid millions to bus people from all over Spain to protest against gay marriage in Madrid. American Evangelical right wing groups sent people to Spain to assist, instruct and sell their anti-gay propaganda to two groups replicating the American Hate Group model. They were called Hazteoir and Foro de la Familia. Even call centre type bunkers were set up in the American south, by Evangelical groups, intended to drown Spanish internet publications/message boards with their anti-gay propaganda (fortunately, easily recognizable due to their repetitiveness and unfamiliarity with European Spanish) .
Their efforts were in vain.
The What’s To Come
Just as in France today, we had the die-hard bigots. Mayors and even judges who assured us they would refuse to enforce the law. They would not perform marriages, they would be conscientious objectors. The PP (Spain’s major right wing party) went as far as to initiate a motion of unconstitutionality at the constitutional court. To make a long story short, none of it worked. It didn’t work because considering the incredibly high level of approval of gay marriage in the under 35′s, if any party wants to remain electable, the hate model is no longer deemed acceptable by a generation that has direct access to information. Now it takes 10 minutes, a computer and google to discredit the misinformation promulgated by anti-gay groups. Educated people know homosexuality isn’t a disease and those who aren’t educated can check with any of the major psychological/psychiatric associations of the world. There’s a meta-study that shows that growing up with gay parents is really no different than growing up with straight parents. All of that means that time is on our side. It’s on the side of reason. Religious lobbies may go insane and pour tens of millions into anti-gay propaganda (in bursts) and that does have an immediate effect on public opinion, but as the days go by people have time to verify the information. Time to see the sky isn’t falling. Time to recognize they’re being played by groups that have no interest in anything but their votes and/or their money. Now nearly a decade has gone by since the legalization of gay marriage in Spain and socially, Spaniards have not become a culturally different people because of LGBT unions- only perhaps in the sense that there’s more respect for us.