Groups challenge Madrid anti-homophobia law

Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Plà is among Catholic leaders attacking Madrid anti-homophibia law. Photo: EFE via El Diario
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• Former PP legislators seek court ruling on Madrid law’s constitutionality
• Complaint filed on behalf of 20 organisations says law violates ‘free speech’

Former representatives of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) in the Madrid regional assembly have filed a formal complaint with the public defender’s office (Defensor del Pueblo), claiming the Madrid community’s new law prohibiting homophobia and discrimination against the LGBT community is unconstitutional and demanding a hearing on the matter by Spain’s Constitutional Court (Tribuna Constitucional).

The complaint by former PP regional goernment minister Jaime Mayor Oreja and a handful of former PP regional deputies and senators was filed on behalf of nearly two dozen organisations, closely aligned with the Spanish Catholic church. The complaint claims the anti-homophobia law extends “privileges” to the LGBT community and attempts to impose what the plaintiffs refer to as “gender ideology” on Catholic educators, limiting their freedom of expression by obliging them to teach about sexual diversity in their classrooms.

The Madrid region’s new law against homophobia (formally called in Spanish, the Ley de Protección Integral contra la LGTBIfobia y la Discriminación por Razón de Orientación e Identidad Sexual de la Comunidad de Madrid), was promoted by the PP president of the Madrid region, Cristina Cifuentes, and passed by a unanimous vote of all parties in the Madrid assembly in July.

Since its passage, the law has been the focus of an increasingly vocal campaign by Catholic bishops and organisations in the Madrid region and across Spain to discredit the leglislation as discriminatory toward Catholics, particularly with regard to the law’s mposition of fines of up to 45,000 euros on individuals who promote the notion that homosexuality is unnatural or is an illness that can be cured.

In August, two Catholic bishops in the Madrid region issued a pastoral letter calling the legislation contrary to natural law and saying that it serves to aggravate the “confusion” of individuals who continue to “suffer” regarding their own sexual identity.

► Read More in Spanish at El Mundo, El Diario and Mirada 21 …

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