Hopes for reviving Spain's stalled economy were at least partially renewed by Prime Minister-elect Mariano Rajoy's landslide victory yesterday, but some progressive Spaniards fear Rajoy and his conservative Popular Party could pose a serious threat to the nation's same-sex marriage legislation.
As Reuters is reporting, Rajoy has said he supports civil unions for same-sex couples, but does not think they should be called marriages. The Popular Party has lodged an appeal against the nation's 2005 law allowing gay marriage in the Constitutional Court.
Fears that Rajoy may turn back the clock on marriage equality have led to a surge in same-sex marriages in recent weeks. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples have descended onto Campillo de Ranas, 80 miles north of Madrid, where many of the nation's same-sex weddings have been taking place since the legislation was implemented six years ago.
"I get the feeling that there is a lot of concern," Campillo de Ranas Mayor Francisco Morato told The Telegraph. "I have been holding marriages every weekend –- sometimes as many as three weddings in one day -– I simply haven't stopped. A lot of people tell me they fear that Mariano Rajoy will revoke the law, so there has been a rush to go ahead with their weddings before it is too late."
Not surprisingly, Spain's same-sex newlyweds are echoing Morato's sentiments. "It was a wonderful thing to be able to publicly celebrate our commitment and it angers me to think that hard-won right might be taken away, that we might be forced back in the closet," said 60-year-old Paco Garcia Flores, who wed his partner of 25 years in Campillo de Ranas' town hall.
Same-sex marriage is not the only controversial social issue Rajoy is planning to tackle: regarding a 2010 law legalizing abortion, he has said he plans to eliminate the possibility for 16 or 17-year olds to have an abortion without parental consent, according to Reuters.
As the AFP reports, 20,000 gay couples have tied the knot since Spain passed legislation allowing same-sex marriages in 2005. More recently, Latin pop star Ricky Martin is believed to have sought Spanish citizenship in hopes of marrying his longtime partner, Carlos Gonzalez, under the country's same-sex marriage laws.