Judges 'fraudulently' refuse to marry gay couples

1st August 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 August 2005, MADRID – The politician responsible for marriage in Spain has rounded on judges who have refused to marry gay couples.

1 August 2005

MADRID – The politician responsible for marriage in Spain has rounded on judges who have refused to marry gay couples.

Pilar Blanco-Morales, the general director of the civil register, said a judge in the Canary Isles and another in Alicante had made a "fraudulent use" of the law in referring the legalisation of gay marriage to the Constitutional Tribunal.

On Saturday, Francisco Javier García, a judge in Telde in the Canary Isles, became the second judge to halt three gay marriages. He referred them to the Constitutional Tribunal, describing them as "unconstitutional".

One couple, two men who on Saturday expected to become the first gay partners to marriage on the Canary Isles, said in a statement that the judge's announcement was like "a jug of cold water". Their worry is that resolving the question at the Constitutional Tribunal could involve months of delay.

Garcia's move followed that of Laura Alabau who heads court 3 in Denia, in Alicante.

Blanco-Morales was asked for her reaction to the action of the judges when she gave a talk on the latest family law at the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo.

She argued that when judges marry couples they are acting as civil servants, answerable to her, in the same way as consuls and ship captains, carrying out weddings.

"It seems to me profoundly anti-democratic because the Constitution didn't intend that a civil servant could go to the Constitutional Tribunal to start a conflict with the largest organ representing popular sovereignty, which is parliament," she said.

She accused the conservative party, the PP, of "hiding behind the judges" rather than raising the question of the law being unconstitutional through their MPs and senators.

Blanco-Morales also stated that her department had sent out a circular clearing up confusion over whether gay foreigners could marry in Spain, if their own country doesn't allow gay marriage.

At the end of last month, the Spanish organisation of lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals COLEGAS had said foreign gay couples trying to get married here were being asked for certificates from their home countries stating such marriage would be legal there.

Blanco-Morales made it clear the change to Spain's Civil Code specifically allowed for foreigners as well as Spaniards to marry in Spain.

Blanco-Morales said she had found it "surprising" to see Spanish judges who seemed keen to apply "a foreign law over a Spanish law" and suggested their behaviour was "an excuse not to comply with a valid law, approved by the parliament."

"The foreign citizen coming from a country which doesn't recognise a divorce can also get married in Spain, as can the foreign citizen coming from a country where marriage between people of different religions or races isn't allowed and there are a lot of them," she pointed out. "It's the same for marriage between people of the same sex."

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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