October 29, 2020

Justice annuls the norm that excludes women from a religious association in La Laguna – La Provincia


The Court of First Instance number two of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has annulled article 1 of the statutes of the association Pontifical Royal and Venerable Slavery of the Holy Christ of La Laguna, to cConsider that the exclusion of women as members violates the fundamental rights of equality, of non-discrimination based on sex and association that enshrines as fundamental the Spanish Constitution and the highest community regulations.

In a sentence notified yesterday, Wednesday, the judicial authority fully estimates the lawsuit filed by a woman who was rejected as a partner by the brotherhood and condemns the brotherhood to pay the legal costs, that is, the expenses generated by the litigation, including the attorney’s fees for the plaintiff.

The resolution describes as “striking” the position in the case of the Bishopric of Tenerife, co-defendant in the litigation, which was initially acquiesced on the understanding that it was not his responsibility to decide on the issue because he could not “interfere” in the sphere of self-organization of the association, to then affirm: “Nothing prevents the applicant from establishing another slavery for the same purposes.”

In the opinion of the magistrate who settles the lawsuit, with this position the Bishopric “silently inexplicably” that “the only brotherhood that has traditionally carried out religious acts [en La Laguna] it is the defendant association and, therefore, the one that can exclusively proclaim and carry them out. “

“The judicial authority cannot interfere”

As detailed in the sentence, the Brotherhood responded to the applicant’s demand, alleging that the guiding principles of the association were under the “top management” of the ecclesiastical authority and based on statutes that developed a “custom introduced for four centuries” in the exercise of the powers of self-organization “that they have recognized by national and European jurisprudence”.

In Slavery’s judgment, these powers “They prevent the judicial authority from meddling in them, having to abstain and not mediate, therefore, in their internal conflicts.”

The judicial resolution recalls first of all that it is not possible to speak of “secular tradition” when originally the Brotherhood was “made up of men and women”, andHe adds that no association can guarantee statutes contrary to the rights that the Constitution proclaims as inviolable.

In the present case, she says, the right to non-discrimination based on sex prevails over that of self-organization, which is why, the magistrate concludes, “it is necessary to declare the nullity of the first article of the statutes of the defendant association in the part that excludes women as a candidate to be a member of it, the association must, therefore, remove the obstacles that are necessary to facilitate its access. “

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