16 June 2005
MADRID — Gay and lesbian activists denied they are to hold a counter demonstration in Madrid hours before a march supported by the Spanish Church against Spain’s new law legalizing gay weddings.
The Federation of Gays and Lesbians quashed rumours circulating in the capital that they would stage a counter demonstration on Saturday.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected for the march led by the Forum for the Family, a group which has received the backing of senior figures in the Roman Catholic Church and the conservative opposition Popular Party (PP).
They oppose the new law legalise same sex marriages, which was passed by the Spanish parliament and will come into force at the end of the month.
Beatriz Gimeno, spokeswoman for the federation, said: “There have been rumours circulating on the internet that we would stage a demonstration outside the PP headquarters, something which is irrational and madness.
“No one who is linked to our organisation has been involved with these emails.”
She said the federation would respect the march and the democratic rights of those to demonstrate.
Instead, she urged gays and lesbians to attend the concert in Madrid by Brazilian star Carlinhos Brown, near the route of the main march.
Gimeno added: “The PP has committed a serious error because there are plenty of supporters of that party who are gay and lesbians.
“That the PP and the Church are joined in this march is something which smells of the past.”
But the federation is to read a statement hours before the march takes place, stating publicly the new law will “end discrimination towards families made up of gays or lesbians and, above all, their sons and daughters”.
The new law is due to come into force on 30 June.
Leading the march is the former head of the Spanish Catholic Church, Archbishop Antonio Maria Rouco, along with five other bishops from Madrid and surrounding dioceses.
The PP leader Mariano Rajoy has yet to decide if he is to join the march.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news