The Spanish constitutional court upheld the country’s legality of same-sex marriage, rejecting an appeal by the ruling conservative government that marriage can defined only as a union between man and woman.
Eight of the court’s eleven judges voted today (6 October) to dismiss an appeal filed by the conservative ruling Popular Party submitted shortly after Spain became the world's third country to approve gay marriage.
The law, introduced by the former government of Socialist prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in 2005, was challenged in court by the conservative People's Party (PP).
The law also permits adoption and was guarantees same-sex couples equal marriage rights to heterosexual couples.
Spain’s minister of justice Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said the government would respect the decision and would not further challenge it.
Reacting to the news,Jesus Generelo, general secretary of the National LGBT Federation (FELGTB) told Reuters:
‘We're very, very pleased and particularly that the decision was 8-3 and not a close 6-5.
‘I think it is clear that gay marriage is now a part of our society’.
Over 22,000 same-sex marriages have taken place in Spain since the law was introduced.
Conservative and Catholic groups criticised the court ruling. The Family Forum, which organised protests against same-sex marriage, demanded the government repeal the law.
In a statement it said: ‘If the PP hides behind this sentence to now accept the Zapatero law, it will be reneging on the public commitments it made in 2004 and 2005 and failing to defend the ideas of its core supporters in a politically cowardly way’.
Other conservative groups made similar criticism, Hazteoir.org, stated: ‘Making marriage the same as other types of union is a direct attack on the Spanish family.
‘This equal status, as well as the promotion of divorce, will cause damage to society in the short-term.’
Poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Spain’s population support marriage equality.