The trans law lives frozen in time in the Judiciary. The CGPJ and the Fiscal Council block the processing of the draft, approved in the last Council of Ministers in June 2021. Since then it has gone through other consultative bodies until it ran aground since last December in which Carlos Lesmes presides. The Government sent the draft to the CGPJ on the 15th of that month. And it did so by urgent procedure, which gives them 15 “non-extendable” days to issue their non-binding report on the standard. Three months later, the Judiciary has not fulfilled its obligation and hides behind the accumulation of work to request an extension that the Executive has not granted.
The Government approves the ‘trans law’, which contemplates gender self-determination
This Thursday the plenary of the CGPJ met, as it usually does once a month. But on the agenda was not the approval of the opinion on the Bill for the real and effective equality of trans people and for the guarantee of the rights of LGTBI people, known as trans law. Therefore, it will not be until the next plenary session, scheduled for April 28, when the report is approved. As minimum.
In that case, the draft presented in the Council of Ministers by the head of Equality, Irene Montero, would accumulate at least eight times more delay than the law provides. From the body chaired by Carlos Lesmes and whose mandate has expired and has been in office for three long years, reference is made to the workload to justify the delay.
The Preliminary Draft arrived at the CGPJ on December 15 sent by the Ministry of Justice, as confirmed by elDiario.es from sources in the department led by Pilar Llop and who was a co-proponent of the rule together with Equality with Juan Carlos Campo still at the helm . “The driving ministry requested urgent processing and we did so,” say the same sources. The law indicates that, in these cases, there is a period of 15 days to resolve. On December 29, close to the deadline, the Permanent Commission of the CGPJ appointed rapporteurs for the report of the trans law to María Victoria Cinto Lapuente, Wenceslao Francisco Olea Godoy, María Ángeles Carmona Vergara and Clara Martínez de Careaga García.
That same day, the governing body of the CGPJ agreed to ask the Government for an “extension” (of 10 days, as it was an urgent procedure) to count from January 12. That is, since the return of the Christmas holidays. It was “at the request of the technical cabinet”, as reflected in the agenda of that session that elDiario.es has been able to examine. The Law of the Judiciary indicates that the term is “unextendable” and, at the same time, that “exceptionally, the referring body may grant the extension of the term, taking into account the circumstances of the case.” Equality’s response came via Justice: “The extension requested is not granted given the urgent nature conferred on the processing of this draft.”
Since then, there have been no formal communications from the CGPJ to the Government. In the other sense, yes. Equality, always through the Ministry of Justice, has sent two pressures to the body chaired by Carlos Lesmes. The first, in January. The second, this same month of March. At the moment, according to the sources consulted by this means, there has been no response.
Also the Fiscal Council
“It is inconceivable that once again the CGPJ does not meet the established deadlines and, again, a law that is essential to guarantee rights to vulnerable people is delayed,” says a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Equality to questions from elDiario.es. “It is urgent in our country to protect LGTBI people and especially trans people,” she adds. And she concludes: “The Ministry of Equality has made all the possible requirements so that the reports are issued as soon as possible.”
The CGPJ has previously been delayed in other laws of the Ministry of Equality, such as the one known as law of only yes is yes. Although not alone. There is an accumulation of opinions not issued by the governing body of the judges, they assure from within. The sources consulted by elDiario.es assure that the technicians “are working” on the report and recall that it is not the only case that suffers from delays, although of the last only that of Democratic Memory competes with the trans law.
Recently, the Council of the Judicial Power has approved an expense of 14,400 euros in its permanent commission to pay judges and magistrates who participate in the preparation of the report of the new Law of Criminal Procedure. Throughout 2021, the plenary session of the Council has approved more than twenty reports, many of them with some type of delay over the original deadline: the Democratic Memory Law, the Digital Efficiency of the Public Service of Justice or also the Law of Comprehensive Guarantee of Sexual Freedom. Various sources from the agency point to the accumulation of these reports on preliminary projects with a technical cabinet that “can’t cope” with legal deadlines that are rarely met with or without urgent processing.
The CGPJ is not the only advisory body framed in the Judicial Power that accumulates delays in its opinion on the trans law. The Fiscal Council chaired by the State Attorney General, Dolores Delgado, is going the same way. The law establishes for this body the same term that for the one chaired by Carlos Lesmes: “The Fiscal Council must issue the corresponding report within a period of thirty business days. When the urgency of the report is stated in the referral order, the term shall be fifteen working days”.
The body that has not been delayed is the Economic and Social Council, which assessed the text “positively” and described the “depathologization” of the trans community as “remarkable progress” and, therefore, the “free determination of gender identity” of people, reports Europa Press.
Not only from Equality the advisory bodies are called to be pressured in their work. The FELGTB, Fundación Triángulo and Chrysallis issued a statement this week in which they assured that the delay in the norm “expands the lack of protection of the LGTBI collective.” Because these reports are not the final point of processing the trans law In fact, they are a point and followed. The Preliminary Project must return to the Council of Ministers, which will approve it definitively to later go through the parliamentary procedure. Once Congress and the Senate give their approval, after the various totality, partial debates, etc., the trans law It will definitely be law.