Same-sex marriage upheld by Spain's highest court
By Iciar Reinlein and Sarah Morris
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's highest court upheld the country's gay marriage law on Tuesday, rejecting an appeal lodged by the ruling People's Party seven years ago and confirming the legality of same-sex unions.
By the end of last year, more than 21,000 same-sex couples had tied the knot since Spain became the fourth country in the world to legalize gay marriage in July 2005.
Eight of the Constitutional Court's 11 judges voted in favor of the law, the court said in a statement, adding that the full ruling will be published in the next few days.
Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said the government would respect the decision and leave the law as it stands.
"We're very, very pleased and particularly that the decision was 8-3 and not a close 6-5," Jesus Generelo, general secretary of the National Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (FELGTB), said.
"I think it is clear that gay marriage is now a part of our society."
The law, introduced by the former government of Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, was challenged in court by the People's Party (PP).
Hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets during the Zapatero years against Socialist laws permitting gay marriage and liberalizing abortion, but surveys have shown a majority of Spaniards support allowing same-sex couples equal marriage rights with heterosexual couples. Continued...