Zaragoza City Council beats the ultras in court: you can hang an LGTBI banner on your balcony
The banner with the colors of the LGTBI collective placed in the Zaragoza City Hall in June 2020.
The banner with the colors of the LGTBI collective placed in the Zaragoza City Hall in June 2020.Zaragoza City Council

The Superior Court of Justice of Aragon (TSJA) has inflicted a heavy blow on the thesis of the extreme right and has concluded that the Zaragoza City Council did not breach the flag law or the “principle of neutrality” by placing a banner on its facade with the colors of the LGTBI collective. Throughout a 19-page sentence, the magistrates emphasize that the “mere use of rainbow colors and their placement on the municipal balcony” does not violate the regulations on banners. And, even, they compare it with other similar cases: “Under penalty that we consider that it would also violate this law, the placement of a banner with the colors of Real Zaragoza, the day the promotion to First is celebrated.”

The TSJA thus revokes a previous sentence of the Contentious-Administrative Court 3 of Zaragoza, which had given the reason to the group ultra Asociación de Abogados Cristianos. This group took action against the Consistory, governed by the PP since 2019, after it placed the banner on June 26, 2020. “I am proud, as mayor, to put the multicolored flag on the balcony of City Hall. Because we are representing a vast majority of Zaragozans”, said then the popular councilor Jorge Azcón.

The ruling of the superior court is forceful: “If we do not want to fall into an interpretation that leads us to the absurd, we must agree that a flag is one thing and a banner is quite another. We do not say it, the dictionary of the real academy says it when it indicates, in the first meaning and that is the object of this resource, that a flag is a cloth of a commonly rectangular shape, which is secured by one of its sides to a pole or to a a halyard and is used as an ensign or signal of a nation, a city or an institution”.

In this line, the magistrates emphasize a fundamental argument to revoke the judgment of first instance. They explain that the Flag Law “does not, at any time, confuse a flag with another type of signal or emblem.” “In all the precepts he speaks of hoisting and waving. Something that only a flag can do. If it does not regulate another symbol, another signal or emblem, it is clear that we cannot annul the establishment of a banner or whatever we call it because it violates the indicated norm, ”reinforces the resolution, dated this Monday.

This thesis contradicts the Contentious-Administrative Judge 3 of Zaragoza, who based a large part of his decision on the fact that the banner placed was a “flag”. According to that magistrate, “what defines a flag are the colors included in the canvas or fabric in question”: “A flag can symbolize a State, a territorial entity, a community, a lineage, an organization , or social or other movements. On the contrary, what defines a banner is that it has an embedded text. Already an emblem has more to do with an image or a figure […] But the fact that the fabric with the colors (flag) is not placed on a pole together with the other official flags, does not mean that it is not prohibited; It must be taken into account that the prohibition is generic.

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This controversy is key because the Aragonese City Council, after knowing this point of view of the Court, placed a banner with the LGTBI colors on the façade again in June 2021, but now including a slogan: “Zaragoza is diversity”. But the person in charge of Contentious-Administrative Matters 3 then ordered that poster to be removed as well, at the request of Christian Lawyers. In its defense, the Consistory goes so far as to allege that placing “banners on the balcony is recurrent”: “It is done repeatedly ([por ejemplo], in memory of those deceased by the pandemic) without file, or any procedure. It is a social act”.

Christian Lawyers, an association close to Vox, maintains a long legal campaign against institutions that place symbols in support of the LGTBI collective. It has already undertaken similar actions in Cádiz or Valladolid. In fact, to justify its initiatives in court, this association claims that the rainbow flag “represents an ideology contrary to Christianity and is a direct attack on the Catholic Church and its Magisterium and on the faith of Catholics.”

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