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'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday 5 July 2012

Rajoy's attempt to reverse gay-marriage law rejected by Spain's Constitutional Court

(Please see UPDATE at end)

Spain's economy may be in a complete shambles, but at least some sense still prevails. The Constitutional Court has rejected an appeal by the governing Partido Popular and President ('Prime Minister') Mariano Rajoy against the 2005 change in the law which permitted same-sex marriage on the grounds that it was 'unconstitutional', asserting at the time the law was changed that it flouted article 10.2, relating to protection of the family, women and children. Of course he ignored the fact that a ban on same-sex marriage would constitute gender discrimination, and segregation on the grounds of sexuality, two situations forbidden by the Constitution.

I may think that Zapatero's PSOE was a lousy manager of Spain's economy (just as was the last Labour government in the UK), but both introduced reforms of the law which brought their countries into the forefront in terms of granting badly-needed rights to enhance the equality of their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens.

It is great to know that the Spanish Constitutional Court is prepared to stand up to the government when it seeks to deprive a segment of the population of recently-won and hard fought-for rights. I recall at the time the last government introduced the change how vehement was the opposition of the then opposition and the Roman Catholic church. We are seeing exactly the same opposition to the changes currently under discussion in the UK from the very-same Roman Catholic church. Although Spain is nominally a Catholic country, whereas the UK is not, both are modern democracies which have, fortunately, moved well beyond the crude propaganda efforts of the Church and neither is a theocracy, a concept the main churches in both countries (Catholic and CofE respectively) will just have to learn to live with!

And referring back to the first line of this article, doesn't Mariano Rajoy have more important things to worry about than attempting to reverse gay-marriage laws, for example the urgent task of sorting out the Spanish economy, which still has a very long way to go (quite frankly)?!

(NB/ This article is cross-posted from my Spanish blog

UPDATE (Wednesday 7NOV2012 06.41 GMT) Spain's Constitutional Court has re-affirmed the 2005 law granting same-sex couples the right to marry. See later post here.


  1. Thanks Bill for this post. Do you know what the judges' votes were? The numbers 'for'? I am surprised how little media coverage there was of this important decision.

  2. t's a bit complicated but it appears that 7 of the 12 members of the Constitutional Court are considered to be 'liberal' against between 3 to 5 considered 'conservative. The present appeal to reverse the gay marriage law was lodged 7 years ago when the change was implemented and has been pending since then. New appointments to the Court which took effect a few days before the latest ruling was announced were not expected to change the balance of the court a lot. Other complication is that one of the judges who would probably have voted for repeal earlier had requested permission to recuse himself from voting on this issue and this has been granted, whereas another Judge appointed by the last government who would have been expected to vote with the liberal wing has in fact in practice voted with the 'conservatives'.

    I doubt this is entirely the last we will hear of this issue - I imagine the PP (present governing party) will come back to this issue in due course, no doubt egged-on by the Catholic Church, which remains viscerally opposed to gay marriage.

    There is some material in the Spanish media if you are interested:


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