Miguel Ángel Fernández, 33, and Tamara Guerrero, 31, have three children: Valeria, 5, Hugo, 2, and Marco, 1. However, they are not a large family. Or at least, not all of its members. In its title, issued by the Community of Madrid, only the father appears with the three children. The mother has had to be removed, being excluded from the benefits that would correspond. The reason, in the XXI century: that they are not married. A discrimination introduced by the PP in the Large Families Act of 2003, and that, 16 years later, with eight years of socialist government included, nobody has eliminated, in a country where almost half of the children are already born to unmarried mothers. Now it is the PP itself, but also Citizens, PSOE and Podemos what show will to correct it.
"When the little one was born and I went to get the title with all the documentation, they told me that being not married could only be one of the parents. I had to decide at the moment who, and I put myself because I had the light contract in my name, so they gave us the social bonus ", explains Fernández, self-employed with a small tax advice. Guerrero, who works with him, has had to pay almost 600 euros to enroll in Psychology at the UNED, when with the large family card would be only 290 euros. When she is without her partner, she can not access discounts at children's clothing stores or chains like McDonald's, even if she goes with the children. To apply for grants in the City of Fuenlabrada, where they reside, only he can do it, who holds the title.
"We have the same children as other families with married parents, we are not less family," Fernandez criticizes. "Marriage should not be a condition, it's a personal option," he says. "Large families are families because of the number of children, it is about compensating parents financially for the greater expense of maintaining them", agrees María Menéndez, president of the Association of Large Families of Madrid,
However, the Large Families Law establishes in article 2 that "parents are considered ascendants to the mother or both jointly when there is a conjugal bond." The PP wanted to close any gap to gay couples by way of unions In fact, two years before homosexual marriage was approved, the socialist group presented amendments, which did not prosper, and in May 2008, it was approved. Congress a bill to ask the Executive to correct the rule, but it was not carried out.
"It should be reformed," says Menéndez, something in which sources of the Spanish Federation of Large Families, that defends that the title be granted when there is a "stable bond as a de facto couple" to avoid the "loss of rights and benefits" for one of the parents. From both associations, warn that this provision also affects separated or divorced couples, in which one of the two parents has to stay out of the title, even if they are paying a pension or have joint custody.
Inequality between autonomous communities
It is difficult to calculate how many families discrimination affects. In 2017, there were 675,955 titles in force throughout Spain, according to the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, that does not distinguish by number of ascendants or parental link. According to Continuous Household Survey of the INE, 577,400 families lived with three or more children under the age of 25 in 2018, of which 57,900, that is, 10%, were de facto couples. However, some autonomous communities, which are those that issue the title, equate de facto couples and grant it, such as Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, and others, such as Andalusia and Madrid, which with 235,000 titles, add up to one in three. in force.
Sources of the Ministry affirm that they are conscious of the problem, although it has not given time to solve it during these months of Government. Among the main parties with parliamentary representation, the only one that has done an express reference to the subject has been Albert Rivera, Citizens, who said that if he becomes president, "one of the first measures" will be to equate by law de facto couples with marriages, with specific mention, among other inequalities, that now can not be considered large families. "In a modern country, I think it's a fundamental step," he said.
The PP leads in point 225 of your program the problem of separated and divorced, without mentioning unmarried couples. However, spokespersons of the party assure, to questions of this newspaper, that they want "to carry out the necessary legislative modifications to equate de facto couples with those parents with conjugal ties". Even when it is asked if only registered couples will be included or those who prove a stable relationship of coexistence, they respond: "We think that we must avoid discrimination between people who, due to different circumstances, choose to form their families of different way. The children are those who grant the condition of large family and the Public Administration what it has to do is help those families by eliminating administrative obstacles ".
Spokespeople of the PSOE respond to questions from this newspaper that "although not explicitly in the program", the inclusion of common-law couples as a large family "is one of the historic demands with which we agree". "In the future law of support for families," they add, "the benefits would not be conditioned by marital status." From United Podemos, they say they are "in agreement on everything that equates rights between de facto couples and marriages."