Gay Marriage in Spain

Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in Spain since 3 July 2005. In 2004, the nation’s newly elected Socialist Party (PSOE) government, led by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, began a campaign for its legalization, including the right of adoption by same-sex couples. After much debate, a law permitting same-sex marriage was passed by the Cortes Generales (Spain’s bicameral parliament, composed of the Senateand the Congress of Deputies) on 30 June 2005 and published on 2 July 2005. The law took effect the next day, making Spain the third country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry, after the Netherlands and Belgium, and 17 days ahead of Canada.

The ratification of this law was not devoid of conflict, despite support from 66% of the population. Roman Catholic authorities in particular were adamantly opposed, criticising what they regarded as the weakening of the meaning of marriage. Other associations expressed concern over the possibility of lesbians and gays adopting children. Demonstrations for and against the law drew thousands of people from all parts of Spain. After its approval, the conservative People’s Party challenged the law in the Constitutional Court.

Approximately 4,500 same-sex couples married in Spain during the first year of the law. Shortly after the law was passed, questions arose about the legal status of marriage to non-Spaniards whose country did not permit same-sex marriage. A ruling from the Justice Ministry stated that the country’s same-sex marriage law allows a Spanish citizen to marry a non-Spaniard regardless of whether that person’s homeland recognizes the partnership. At least one partner must be a Spanish citizen in order to marry, although two non-Spaniards may marry if they both have legal residence in Spain.

The November 2011 general election delivered a landslide victory to the People’s Party, whose leader Mariano Rajoy said that he opposed same-sex marriage, but any decision about repealing the law could be made only after the ruling of the Constitutional Court. On 6 November 2012, the law was upheld by the Court with 8 support votes and 3 against. Minister of Justice Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón announced that the government will abide the ruling and the law will not be repealed.

According to the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE), 27,357 same-sex marriages took place up to the end of 2012: 1,275 in 2005, 4,574 in 2006, 3,250 in 2007, 3,549 in 2008, 3,412 in 2009, 3,583 in 2010, 3,880 in 2011 and 3,834 in 2012.

Most same-sex marriages in 2011 took place in: Catalonia, with 886 weddings (3.33% of all marriages in the Community for that year); Madrid, 729 (2.91%); Andalusia, 484 (1.71%); Valencian Community, 436 (2.58%); and the Canary Islands, 203 (3.60%).

Since its legalization in 2005, couples from a cross section of Spanish society have entered into same-sex marriage. Within the first year the law received royal assent, an influential socialist leader and Madrid city councilor Pedro Zerolo married Jesús Santos in January, and popular television presenter Jesús Vázquez married Roberto Cortés in March. In October 2005, Spain’s prominent anti-terrorism judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska married his fiancé Gorka Gomez. In August 2006 Ourense city councilor and member of the People’s Party Pepe Araujo, whose party originally opposed the law, married his fiancé Nino Crespo. In September 2006 Alberto Linero Marchena and Alberto Sánchez Fernández, both army soldiers assigned to the Morón Air Basenear Seville, became Spain’s first military personnel to marry under the new law. In August 2008, Doña Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo, 21st Duchess of Medina Sidonia and three-time Grandee of Spain (branded the Red Duchess for her socialist activism), became the highest ranking Spanish noble to marry in an articulo mortis (deathbed) wedding to longtime companion Liliana Maria Dahlmann, now the Dowager Duchess of Medina Sidonia by right of her late wife. In June 2015 the then mayor of the Basque capital Vitoria, Javier Maroto, announced his engagement to longtime partner Josema Rodríguez. The wedding was held on 18 September 2015 at Vitoria’s city hall. Maroto, a member of the conservative People’s Party’s national board, is known for his views contrary to the stance of his own party pertaining the gay marriage in Spain. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who had challenged the law approving same sex marriage when he was Opposition Leader, attended the wedding celebrations as a guest.

A poll by the government-run Centre for Sociological Investigations (Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas), published in April 2005, reported that 66% of Spaniards favoured legalising same-sex marriage. Another poll taken by Instituto Opina a day before the bill passed placed support of the same-sex marriage bill at 62.1% and support of adoption by same-sex couples at 49.1%.[100] AnInstituto Opina poll taken nine months after the bill passed said 61% agreed with the government’s decision.[101]

On 25 July 2007 the BBVA Foundation published their report Social portrait of Spanish people, which reported that 60% of Spain’s population support same-sex marriage. This support occurs mainly among the younger population, between 15 and 34 years old (75%), people with higher education (71%), people not attached to any religion (75.5%), and those identified by left and centre-left political views (71.9%). However, only 44% of the population favor the right of adoption by homosexual couples, in contrast to 42% opposition.

A May 2013 Ipsos poll found that 76% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and another 13% supported other forms of recognition for same-sex couples.

According to the Ifop poll, conducted in May 2013, 71% of Spaniards supported allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.

The 2015 Eurobarometer found that 84% of Spaniards thought that same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe, 10% were against.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Same-sex marriage in Spain, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.