On Wednesday, December 15, LGBTIQ rights groups and other progressive, liberal sections protested in Madrid, Spain, to demand that the regional government of Madrid discard a proposal by the far-right Vox Party to repeal LGBTQI rights. The call for the protest was given by LGBTQI activist platform Trans Platform and was supported by various groups including Podemos, United Left (IU), Anti-capitalists Madrid, among others. Enrique Santiago, member of parliament and leader of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE), also joined the demonstration on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the 136-seat Assembly of the Autonomous Community of Madrid rejected the bill. Of the 130 legislators present in the vote, the bill got the support of only 13 legislators from Vox, while 62 members of the incumbent conservative People’s Party (PP) abstained and 55 representatives from the opposition parties, including the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), Unidos Podemos and More Madrid, opposed the bill.
Last week, Vox had proposed a homophobic proposal titled Law of Equality and Non-Discrimination in the Assembly of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, calling to repeal the laws on Identity and Expression of Gender and Social Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Community of Madrid as well as the Integral Protection against LGTBQIphobia and Discrimination for Reason of Sexual Orientation and Identity, both of which were passed in 2016.
While participating in the mobilization on Wednesday, PCE’s Santiago stated that “we will not allow the rights to be rolled back in the streets or institutions.”
Isa Serra, co-spokesperson of Podemos in Madrid, had earlier stated that “the homophobic proposal by Vox is very serious and intended to suppress the laws that represented an advance against ‘homophobia’ and the ‘limitations of rights to LGTBIQ people.’”
The current PP government in Madrid enjoys the support of legislators from Vox in the assembly. Even though Vox registered their discontent with the PP leadership for succumbing to popular pressure and abstaining from supporting the homophobic bill, its support to the government is likely to continue. The Vox Party, founded in 2013, has a far-right platform that is explicitly against feminism and women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and the right to abortion. The party gained prominence in Spain over the last three years and currently has 52 MPs in the Congress of Deputies as well as several elected representatives in regional assemblies, including in the capital city of Madrid.
Vox and similar far-right and conservative political groups in other parts of Europe, like Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party in Hungary and the Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland, have been actively pushing homophobic policies in their respective countries.