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Spain's gay families' law worries

Spain's gay families' law worries
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For insight into an important concern for gay families in Spain, euronews spoke with Mercedes Martorell, an expert in family law, in Tarragona.

Consuelo Maldonado, euronews: Spain is not the first country to have recognised gay marriage, but it was the first to recognise both homosexual parents’ direct links to a child. Has Spanish society changed?

Mercedes Martorell: Obviously, all societies change, evolve, and Spanish society is no exception. The law we are referring to, of 2005, concerned a situation already in existence, for all same-sex couples. Notwithstanding that, a society such as ours is developing faster than legislation is keeping up. This law had a bearing on what was already there.

euronews: The conservative People’s Party which is ahead in the polls has appealed against the gay marriage law before the Constitutional Court. The leading conservative candidate has already said he will await the verdict of the court before stating his position. Do you think the appeal will be maintained?

Martorell: Obviously, the court can decide in favour or against the law. But, taking into account its tendency in civic rights affairs, it seems more probable to me that it will reject the appeal and approve the law. In reality we are looking at legislation that gives rights to a group that until now has been deprived of rights. It seems more likely that we will see the current situation respected, either through rejection of the appeal or by allowing the judges free interpretation of the law.

euronews: If the legislation is changed, where will the 23,000 families who have benefited from the 2005 law find themselves? Could we find see the same situation as in California, where the law on gay marriage was annulled, leaving these families in a legal limbo?

Martorell: In our case, if the appeal is sustained in the end, the effect would be to apply the decision from a certain date, and there we would have a paradox. There would be a difference under the law, a legal difference between couples who married under the law of 2005 and those couples who would not have recourse to it, thereby creating an inequality. But in no case will we see the Californian situation.

euronews: Do you know about any eventual problems that these families might have, if they decide to live in other countries?

Martorell: If the host countries have similar legislation, in principle the recognised rights are the same. In that case, there shouldn’t be any problems. But if we’re talking about a host country with legislation or practices that are more restrictive then there can be a conflict, since the rights recognised by the national law, in this case Spain’s, are not recognised by the host country.