Newly departed Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says that the ruling he’s most proud of from his nearly eight years in office is the passage of full marriage rights for his gay and lesbian countrymen.
The Spanish newspaper Diario de Leon asked Zapatero this week if there was one decision of which he was particularly proud during his tenure, a decision that he would definitely repeat.
“If I consider the degree of recognition and gratitude I have received, then I think [it would be] the gay marriage law,” Zapatero replied. “Hardly a week goes by without someone reminding me or thanking me. Yes, it’s a decision that seems to have left its mark.”
Spain’s gay marriage law took effect on July 3, 2005, making it the third country in the world to legalize same-sex matrimony. Many in Spain have voiced concern that incoming conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy might now try to reverse the law, but Rajoy himself has been silent on the matter since taking office on December 21.
Rajoy’s own People’s Party filed a legal complaint against the Spanish gay marriage law just months after it took effect. Said complaint has sat dormant for the past six years under Zapatero’s liberal lead, but it may well awaken with a roar now that conservatives have the the biggest share of seats in the country’s legislature.
During the lead-up to the election, Rajoy did his best to side-step the gay marriage issue, claiming that its legality was for Spanish courts to decide. He indicated during one debate that it was merely a matter of terminology: that he is in favor of legalized same-sex pairings, but as civil unions, not marriages.