The lesbian married couple denied the chance of a child

22nd January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Spain may have taken a giant leap toward equality when it legalised gay marriage in 2005, but not all of the country's legislation has backed up the newly gained rights of gays and lesbians.

22 January 2008

MADRID - Spain may have taken a giant leap toward equality when it legalised gay marriage in 2005, but not all of the country's legislation has backed up the newly gained rights of gays and lesbians. Verónica Bolufer and Mónica Catalá, together for seven and a half years and married for the last two, have found that out the hard way. "If we were a heterosexual couple there wouldn't be a problem," the Valencia residents say.

Bolufer and Catalá's troubles began a year ago when, after one of them tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant through artificial insemination, they decided to go for an alternative method to have a child. Their idea was to implant the eggs from one of them into the uterus of the other (they have not disclosed which), a procedure similar to a husband providing his sperm to artificially inseminate his wife.

However, Spain's Assisted Reproduction Law stipulates that donors must be anonymous - a rule that makes what Bolufer and Catalá are proposing illegal. "It's perfectly feasible, it's just like what a heterosexual couple would do," Bolufer, 29, says. "It would make us both natural mothers of the child."

The irony of the matter is that the Assisted Reproduction Law was passed by Congress in 2006, a year after the legalisation of homosexual marriage, suggesting an oversight by lawmakers. "We married to have the same rights as any other married couple," Bolufer notes.

Faced with the refusal of their clinic to carry out the procedure, the couple appealed to the assisted-reproduction commission in the Valencia region. The commission recognised their right to have a child in the manner they proposed, but noted that they must comply with the law.

"All the commission members acknowledged our rights because we are a married couple just like a heterosexual one, but the Assisted Reproduction Law refers to a husband and wife, not partners, and the commission didn't want to take a chance," Bolufer says.

Instead, the commission told them to take their case before the national assisted-reproduction commission. They have yet to receive a response.

In the meantime, they've turned to homosexual-rights groups Collectiu Lambda and the State Federation of Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals (FELGTB) for support. They've also received the backing of United Left (IU) legislator Isaura Navarro, although the end of the legislature ahead of elections in March has meant that there wasn't time to present a motion to amend the law.

The change is one of the issues that FELGTB will try to raise awareness about in the run up to the election, ahead of which it has launched a publicity campaign called Vote Pink. The aim is to encourage homosexuals to come out on voting day and support parties such as the IU, and, especially, to do as much as possible to counter the conservative Popular Party, which opposed the legalisation of homosexual marriage.

Many gays and lesbians are worried that if the PP comes to power the 14,000 homosexual couples who have married over the last two years could wake up one morning and find themselves unwillingly divorced.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / EMILIO DE BENITO 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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