Madrid Pride organisers face lawsuit for “hate speech”

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A “pro-family” activist group in Spain has filed charges against the organisers of the 2008 Madrid Gay Pride march.

HazteOir accused them of making hateful statements against Catholics, pro-family organisations, and those politicians opposed to the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE).

“From both humanitarian and Christian concepts of society, only by protecting values such as liberty, justice and solidarity can citizens retain their rights and dignity,” HazteOir states on its website.

“Our projects are aimed to promote political participation, human dignity and the value and integrity of human life.”

Gay Pride marchers in Madrid held a banner depicting Pope Benedict XVI on fire and calling him “chief of the inquisitors.”

“Yet again, the march has been marked by attacks against the Catholic Church, mockery of the bishops and slogans against Christians, ” said HazteOir, according to

Article 525.1 of the Spanish Penal Code, which HazteOir is invoking to support their case, carries heavy fines for those who seek to “hurt the feelings of the members of a religious confession” by “publicly, by word or through any type of document, make fun of their dogmas, beliefs, rites, or ceremonies, or publicly humiliate those who profess or practice them.”

In March Socialist Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero won re-election.

In an interview with a gay magazine during the election campaign, Mr Zapatero promised to fight any attempt to remove or weaken gay rights laws he has introduced as Prime Minister.

During his four years in office he has legalised gay marriage and given same-sex couples the right to adopt.

The Roman Catholic Church in Spain opposed the Zapatero government’s introduction of gay marriage in Spain in 2005 and reform of the divorce laws.

The leader of the opposition Partido Popular, Mariano Rajoy, suggested that the “traditional family” needs extra protection and promised to set up a “family ministry” if he won.

In January the country’s Roman Catholic bishops told the faithful not to vote for parties that support gay marriage.

Clearly angry, Mr Zapatero defended his government’s policies, saying they were supported by the “immense majority” of the Spanish population and that everyone had rights in Spain, whether they belonged to a religion or not.

Pope Benedict XVI addressed the rally on Sunday 30th December by a videolink from Rome.

He told the crowd, estimated at 150,000 people, that the family is “based on the unbreakable union of man and woman and represents the privileged environment where human life is welcomed and protected from the beginning to its natural end.”

The Archbishop of Madrid claimed that the government’s family policy was a retrograde step for human rights.