The likelihood of Spain’s conservatives taking power at the next election threatens the country’s law on gay marriage, approved in 2005, one of the social highlights of the Zapatero government.
A case brought by the People’s Party (Partido Popular or PP) before Spain’s Constitutional Court, contesting the law, has thrown it into question.
In the six years the law has existed, more than 23,000 gay marriages have been celebrated in Spain. Pilar and Sara’s was one of them. They have been together for 16 years, and in 2007 were able to make it official. They live in Zaragoza with their twins.
Sara Coloma said: “As they say here, we had a ‘fast-track’ marriage, taking advantage of the passage of the new law and what it entitles us to. My pregnancy was already quite advanced, and we were mostly thinking about the children’s legal status.”
The law recognises this family’s rights exactly as that of any heterosexual couple. Both women are the legal mothers of the twins conceived through assisted reproduction.
Coloma said: “You get married and everyone comes to the wedding and gives you presents or comes to see the kids when they’re born. Institutionally, visibility and normal treatment also got a boost from the law. You’re not at the mercy of a civil servant or a particular professional’s fixed mindset, because you are protected under the law.”
Sara is optimistic the law will not be repealed, saying Spanish society has already integrated it well.
“Whatever the Constitutional Court decides or the conservative PP does, we’ll stay a family, even if they steal our registration book, even if they take away the name of one of their mothers, we’ll still be a family. But it would make life for my children and for us as a couple much more complicated.”
The gay association ‘We’re family’ in Zaragoza is requesting that the PP withdraw its case. For dual nationality couples it would present even more complications, fears a German mother of three who is active with the association.
Susannne Franz said: “It worries me a lot, and if conditions in Germany allowed, I would definitely have looked for a job there, because Spain’s situation right now isn’t good. But my children’s legal status in Germany would be completely different, because my wife is the one who bore them, and I probably wouldn’t be recognised as a full parent as I am in Spain. That would be awful if they took the children away from me or stripped me of the rights I have with them here.”