MADRID, Spain, July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Autonomous Community of Madrid, which governs Spain’s capital and immediate surrounding region, has been ordered by a court to repay fines levied against a civic group for distributing pro-family materials in schools.
In 2017, the local government of Madrid fined HazteOir.org 1,500 euros for having distributed to 1,709 schools a booklet criticizing LGBTQ regulations that had been supported across the political spectrum, including by the right-of-center pro-business Popular Party.
Critics contend that the “gag rule” regulations not only violate fundamental rights, such as free speech, but also usurp the power of judges by sanctioning with administrative fines levied upon those expressing opinions deemed offensive. Local authorities had imposed the fine on HazteOir.org without taking recourse to the courts.
The Administrative Law Court of Madrid issued a ruling in June that called on local authorities in Madrid to repay the 1,500 euros in fines paid by HazTeOir.org for its distribution of the book titled “Do you know what they want to teach your child at school? Sexual indoctrination laws.” According to HazteOir.org — a pro-life, pro-family activist organization — no representative from the Community of Madrid appeared before the court to defend its action. The lawyer for HazteOir.org demanded that the charges be expunged.
According to a statement, HazteOir.org leader Ignacio Arsuaga said, “This ruling is new proof of what HazteOir.org has been explaining over the years: (local) administrations want to silence civic associations that dissent from progressive assertions through economic sanctions. But the court has not succumbed to them for now, having agreed with us.”
Arsuaga said HazteOir.org merely wanted parents to know that schools were teaching an ideology to their children without their knowledge or consent. He went on to say, “Science, unfortunately, and in this case biology, has been obfuscated by aspects of the LGBTQ ideology,” which have been forcefully imposed on the public.
Several bishops have denounced the regulations, saying they violate religious liberty and freedom of conscience, as well as the presumption of innocence. At the time, the ruling right-of-center Popular Party said the accusation was a “lie,” and a LGBTQ group filed a suit against the outspoken bishops.
HazteOir.org also received a favorable decision in a court in Catalonia, in eastern Spain. On June 17, the Administrative Law Court of Barcelona ruled against the regional government and the sanctions it imposed on HazteOir.org The court decided that the government must pay court costs incurred by HazteOir when it challenged the government’s claim that the group had engaged in speech offensive to transgender people.
The group had driven a bus to major cities in Spain in 2017 that bore the message: “Boys have penises. Girls have vulvas. That’s what biology says.” The court ruled that the message “does not imply public rejection or obvious and explicit disregard of any person with regard to their sexuality.”
A December 2016 court ruling found that the Madrid government had violated as many as 10 fundamental rights of the principal of a school who had expressed opposition to transgender ideology. This series of court victories has led HazteOir.org and other conservative groups in Spain to question how long transgender laws can remain on the books.
Having noted that the sanctions were imposed while the right-of-center Popular Party occupied the administration of the Community of Madrid, Arsuaga said change may be afoot.
“It is interesting that one of the parties was not at the trial,” Arsuaga said, adding, “It could be that the Popular Party, which remains in the regional government, wants to distance itself in the current political environment from the 'LGTBQ law,’ liberticidal and ideological, which its own legislators promoted and approved.”