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Spain's High Court Upholds Gay Marriage Law
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: December 15, 2005  9:00 pm ET 

(Madrid) Spain's highest court has, for the time being, upheld the constitutionality of a law allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Two regional judges had challenged the validity of the law, arguing in separate cases that it violated the country's constitution.

In a split decision by the Constitutional Court the two cases were rejected, but only on procedural grounds.  

However, another challenge to the law, by the opposition Popular Party, has not been considered by the High Court yet.  The court said it will hear arguments in the case at a later date.

In the meantime, the two judges who challenged the law will be required to perform same-sex marriages.

Judge Francisco Garcia, from Gran Canaria, had refused to register same-sex marriages until the court ruled.

"Heterosexuality is the fundamental and identifying element of the institution of marriage," Garcia told to the Spanish news agency Efe when he filed the suit. (story) In July, a judge in the southern town of Alicante also asked for a ruling for the Constitutional Court. (story)

The court has not said when it will hear the case brought by the Popular Party.

In June Spain became the third country in the world to legalize gay marriage (story), after the Netherlands and Belgium.  Shortly after that Canada legalized same-sex marriage. Earlier this month the Constitutional Court in South Africa, ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. 

Spain's Popular Party led the attack on same-sex marriage in Parliament.  At Senate committee hearings the party produced a psychology professor at Madrid's Catholic university who called homosexuality a "disease" and said that gay adoption would turn children gay. (story)

In the weeks that led up to the historic vote the party and the Catholic Church mounted a rally in Madrid that attracted thousands of people. (story)

<>© 2005

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