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Will Spain default on marriage equality?

Six and a half years after Spain passed a law allowing marriage between same sex couples, could Spain be about to turn its back on LGBT equality?

Many Spaniards fear the possibility that the country will become the first to withdraw that right if, as expected, Spain elects a conservative Partido Popular (PP) led government in November’s elections.

Benigno Blanco, president of the Spanish Family Forum, a conservative lobby group, has asked the PP to repeal the law.

“Our goal is to put an end to the cycle of anti-family policies we have seen in recent years in Spain,” he told the BBC.

In 2005, the PP not only voted against the law allowing gay marriage, and joined the Spanish Catholic hierarchy in demonstrations against it, but appealed to the Constitutional Court. Six years later, the Court still has not given its verdict.

Prime Minister-in-waiting Mariano Rajoy has a campaign promise to repeal the law.

Rajoy has said: “My disagreement with the law of gay marriage is in name only.” Queen Sofia has also reportedly said she opposes gay marriage. “That should not be called marriage because it is not. There are many possible names, social contract, union contract,” she is reported to have said, according to biographer Pilar Urbano.

In areas such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, where gay marriages are more common, requests for applications for marriage increased by about 40% in September compared with the previous month.

The Socialist mayor of the small southwestern town of Jun, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, is offering gay couples fast-track marriages. He told AFP that he offered the service across Spain after hearing from gay couples fearing a change in the law after the November 20 vote.

“People are very afraid, they are starting to realise that there could be a real change and they will lose a hard-fought right,” he said.

“I felt it was important to reassure people and find a way so that people who want to get married could do so.”

There have been more than 24,000 same-sex marriages in Spain since 2005.

 

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