Four Spanish Bishops Threatened with Prosecution for Criticism of LGBT law
Date of incident: August 31, 2016
Category: Government Restrictions / Social Hostility / Intolerance
Attack against: Faith
Area of case: Governmental / Private
Three of the bishops are being threatened with a criminal complaint for having written and published a condemnation of Madrid’s new “Law of Integral Protection against LGTBIphobia and Discrimination for Reasons of Orientation and Sexual Identity.” The fourth bishop is being criminally investigated for expressing support for the statement of the first three.
The bishops criticized provisions in the law prohibiting any speech that constitutes “degrading expressions” regarding homosexuals or transsexuals, and outlaws “acts that imply isolation, rejection, or public and notorious disrespect for people because of their sexual orientation and their gender identity or gender expression.” The law also prohibits any form of therapy, even for religious reasons, for those who suffer from same-sex attraction.
The Spanish Observatory against LGBTfobia has reported three bishops to Madrid's attorney specialising in "hate crimes" for their joint letter criticising a law passed in July, the “Law of Integral Protection against LGTBIphobia and Discrimination for Reasons of Orientation and Sexual Identity".
The bishops under scrutiny are from the dioceses of Alcalá de Henares and Getafe, Juan Antonio Reig Pla and Joaquín María López, as well as an auxiliary bishop of Getafe, José Rico Paves. In their critique of the Madrid LGBTI protection law, they wrote that it “seeks to prohibit the public teaching of the Bible” and to “prohibit, even, public prayer for those people who ask for prayer for a change of orientation in their lives.”
They went on to note that the law constitutes “an attack against religious liberty and liberty of conscience,” an “attack and censure against the right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their own beliefs and convictions,” and “an attack against freedom of expression, freedom of teaching, the freedom of scientists and professionals in search of the truth, and the freedom of people to orient their lives or to ask for help, including religious help, for that which they need.”
Those who violate the statutes of the law can be fined up to 45,000 Euros and may be deprived of all government benefits for up to three years.