9. What Queer Hermeneutics Can Do for Us in Spain
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9 What Queer Hermeneutics Can Do for Us in Spain The Case of 1 Corinthians 6:1-9 Luis Menéndez Antuña Introduction In 2004, PSOE (a socialist, left-wing party in Spain) won the elections with the proposal, among others, of legalizing same-sex marriage. Once in office, they passed a bill on June 30, 2005, that conferred marital status on same-sex couples wishing to become legally married. Thus, since July 3, 2005, anyone, regardless of their partner’s gender, is able to get state recognition in terms of marriage.1 It might come as a surprise that a traditionally Catholic society became the third country in the world to open the marital gates for queers.2 It is less astonishing that the main Spanish religious institution has belligerently opposed such legislation and has mobilized its members against what it considers “a threat to the foundation of Western Civilization.” What was new in this case was that the resistance became a well-organized movement that took to the streets in an unprecedented manner. Documents issued by the Spanish Catholic hierarchy on this matter date back to “Marriage, family and homosexual unions” (Conferencia Episcopal Española 1994), a document that expressed the main views of the Catholic Church regarding homosexuality. Later, in 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would summarize the official stance in response to the recommendation issued by the European Parliament to lift the ban of samesex marriage (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 2003).3 The official Catholic documents frame the debate in terms of a deep truth crisis (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 2003: n. 2) that betrays an 147 understanding of sexuality as a transhistorical and transcultural phenomenon.4 The documents further establish a difference between the “homosexual condition” and “homosexual behavior,” the first being nature-given and thus not subject to moral/ethical judgment. The adage “love the sinner, hate the sin” is reformulated by making a conceptual difference between “inclination”—not necessarily a sin but definitely “objectively disorderly”—and a “behavior” portrayed as “always intrinsically wrong from a moral standpoint” (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 1986: n. 3). The Catholic documents argue that civil law cannot regulate against the nature of humanity as revealed in the Christian tradition (Conferencia Episcopal Española 1994: n. 8). According to this view, any political organization needs to foreground its legitimacy on Christian grounds: Truth equals revelation, and faith stands over reason. Homosexual behavior opposes “natural law” (Conferencia Episcopal Española 1994: n. 9) by not fulfilling the rule of complementarity between the sexes, and not being open to procreation.5 Unity and procreation define natural sexuality. Such an axiomatic definition is scripturally based on Gen. 1:27, which, in turn, explains the “why” of the condemnation of Sodom (Gen. 19:1-11), the exclusion of the homosexuals from the “chosen people” (Lev. 18:22 and 20:13) and the resulting Pauline censure of pagan sexual mores (Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:1-11; 1 Tim. 1:10). After lumping together these diverse biblical references, the church concludes that same-sex couples are intrinsically unable to experience true marital love. To put the argument more clearly, since only male and female fulfill complementary roles, and marriage is the manifestation of such fulfillment, no civil law can overturn this God-given order (Conferencia Episcopal Española 1994: n. 11). Although the basic premises and the conclusion of the argument remain constant, the articulation of biblical textual support varies greatly according to circumstances.6 For instance, marriage as an institution can only be regulated by the state when conforming to nature or to universal history (Conferencia Episcopal Española 2004: n. 4). Traditional marriage equals the marriage between Christ, faithful husband who fecundates the church, and his wife, begetting numerous offspring (Conferencia Episcopal Española 2004: n. 6). In terms of scriptural references, the “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Person” is the most important document, and as such, I quote it at length (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 1986: n. 6): Providing a basic plan this entire for understanding discussion of homosexuality is the theology of creation we find in Genesis. God, 148 | 1 and 2 Corinthians in his infinite wisdom and love, brings into existence all of reality as a reflection of his goodness. He fashions mankind, male and female, in...