Spain’s Election Sparks Concern Over Marriage Rights

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on November 21 2011 6:58 PM ET

The election of a conservative, Mariano Rajoy, as Spain’s prime minister has some LGBT activists worried he will try to repeal the nation’s marriage equality law.

Rajoy’s Popular Party has filed a suit challenging the law, and he has said he believes it is unconstitutional and that he prefers civil unions to marriage for same-sex couples. However, during the campaign he softened his rhetoric, and his platform did not include repeal of the law, the Bloomberg news service reports. He told Spanish newspaper El País that the Constitutional Court would have the final word on the law, enacted in 2005 under Socialist prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

Still, many gay advocates have trepidation about Rajoy, who won a landslide victory Sunday over Socialist candidate Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba in a contest driven largely by Spain’s economic problems. In the small town of Campillo de Ranas, which has hosted the most same-sex weddings of any town in the nation, gay couples rushed to get married in the days leading up to the election.

“A lot of people tell me they fear that Mariano Rajoy will revoke the law, so they prefer to go ahead with their weddings before it is too late,” Mayor Francisco Maroto told El País last week. Maroto said he was sometimes presiding over three weddings a day.