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Gay marriage law should not be overturned, says justice chief

"There is no reason for it to be declared unconstitutional," opines Gallardón

In remarks that have ignited a debate within his party, Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardón said Tuesday that he would prefer to leave Spain's gay marriage laws untouched.

Gallardón's statements, made on the SER radio network, contrast with the position of many of his Popular Party (PP) colleagues, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who have said that they want to overturn the 2005 gay marriage law, which was passed by the previous Socialist government. Rajoy said he was not against gay civil unions but didn't like the term marriage.

"My party's criteria is that we will wait and see what the Constitutional Court says," Gallardón said. "My opinion is that there is no reason for it to be declared unconstitutional, but it is up to the Constitutional Court to decide."

The court is expected to come down with its decision soon regarding an appeal filed by the PP the same year the law was passed.

Gallardón's comments evoked a sharp response from other PP politicians. "If we didn't think that it was unconstitutional we would not have voted against it. We would not have presented amendments and we would not have filed an appeal," said Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz.

PP spokesman in Congress, Alfonso Alonso, said that the view was Gallardón's "own opinion."