Teresa Laborda has been leading the the fight of a group of women in order to be members of the Slavery of the Christ of La Laguna, emblematic brotherhood of the municipality of which only men can be members. After two rulings in 2020 in favor of women from the Provincial Court and previously from the Court of First Instance Number 2 of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, considering that the exclusion of these as members violated the fundamental rights of equality, of non-discrimination for reasons of sex and association, last Wednesday it was learned that the Supreme Court has upheld the appeal filed by the brotherhood, thus endorsing that the Esclavitud del Cristo de La Laguna does not admit women.
Known this sentence, now Teresa Laborda is studying the possibility of taking this issue to the Constitutional Court. This was announced yesterday to DIARIO DE AVISOS, in a first assessment of the sentence in which he stated that “we abide by it, that is clear, but we do not agree with it and we are evaluating being able to opt for the appeal of the Constitutional Court, there is to study it.”
“Everything can fit into a sentence, but nobody expected it,” said Laborda, recalling the previous rulings of the Provincial Court and the Court of First Instance in his favor, and also pointed out that the sentence “surprises us a little” , because “the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office fully supported us, its report was favorable, so we don’t know what could have happened.” In this sense, her lawyer, Andrea Cáceres, added that “the Prosecutor, both in the first instance and in the Supreme Court itself, wrote a report in favor of Teresa Laborda’s claim, clearly considering that her right to equality was violated. and to free association”.
Regarding the sentence, Cáceres valued that “the Supreme Court recognizes, how could it be otherwise, that the fundamental rights of the Constitution, including the one that is questioned in this sentence, that of equality, are above the power self-organization of any association. But, despite this, the Supreme Court considers that in the private sphere of private associations the right to equality should not be applied in such a strict way, and for the Supreme Court the self-organization of the association is above the rights of my client”.
“And it also considers that the custom, that is, that they have not admitted women for 500 years, is a justification for discriminating against women,” he added. Given this, Cáceres stated that “we do not agree, we think that, even if it is a private association, the principle of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex should be applied.”
“And we think that, even if it is a private association, it does have repercussions in the cultural and social sphere, because in this case the Supreme Court considers that it has no repercussions and that they can self-organize internally as they wish, and we think that It’s not true, he continued. Both in the First Instance and in the Court they were of the opinion that it was clearly proven that it had repercussions in the cultural sphere, because it is the only brotherhood that can venerate or worship the image of the Holy Christ of La Laguna, the only ones that carry out all those acts of processions and that have a clear cultural impact on all believers, “he said.
In addition, they consider that “the 500-year-old custom is not a reasonable justification for discriminating against women, because with that argument, women would still be in 1600 in many aspects.”
For all these reasons, Andrea Cáceres affirmed that “we must study the sentence well, which is very broad, and we are going to assess going to the Constitutional Court”, but acknowledged that “the problem is that the appeals in the Constitutional Court are almost never admitted, less than 1%, it has to have a lot of social repercussion for them to be admitted”.
Finally, Teresa Laborda valued all the responses and reactions of support received since last Wednesday. “Everyone is saying that it is a somewhat crazy sentence, everyone is very surprised with the sentence, because the Spanish Constitution is the most important rule of law. There are a lot of outraged people,” he stressed.
Laborda decided to take this matter to trial, which was held in January 2020, after 20 years of writings and petitions to be able to be members of the brotherhood, without success, and after seeing that they were not attended to either from Slavery or from the Bishopric .
The Court of First Instance and the Provincial Court ruled in their favor, throughout 2020, declaring the nullity of article 1 of the Brotherhood’s Statutes, where it speaks of “religious association of gentlemen”, considering that it violated the fundamental equality rights.
However, now the Supreme Court has upheld the appeal filed by La Esclavitud against said sentence.