Spain's Showdown

ANDREA COMAS / REUTERS

Activists in Madrid cheer the proposal to legalize gay marriage

Just weeks into his tenure, Pope Benedict XVI already has a fight on his hands. Last week, the lower house of Spain's parliament approved the first reading of a measure to legalize same-sex marriages.

The bill, sponsored by the ruling Socialist party and almost certain to become law in time for Gay Pride day in June, has infuriated Spain's Catholic leaders. Ricard María Cardinal Carles, Emeritus Archbishop of Barcelona, who supports the church's prohibition of homosexuality, says that "to obey the law over conscience takes us back to Auschwitz." Conservative mayors say they will refuse to marry gays,...

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