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December 16, 2017
'Hate crime' case against Valencia archbishop thrown out
Cardinal Antonio Canizares. Credit: Marta Jimenez / CNA.
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.- A judge in Spain has thrown out a “hate crime” case concerning Cardinal Antonio Cañizares of Valencia, Spain, ruling that the cardinal’s homily warning of a “gay empire” is protected by freedom of speech.

During a May 13 homily, Cardinal Canizares voiced support for “the precious good of the Christian family” and denounced what he called a push by politicians and the “gay empire” to promote “radical feminism” and “gender theory,” calling it the “most insidious of all.”

On June 3, the Valencian LGBT group Lambda filed a criminal complaint against Cardinal Canizares, decrying his homily as “homophobic and male chauvinist statements” that do nothing but incite hatred.

The Spanish Immigration Network also filed a legal complaint against the cardinal accusing him of xenophobia when, in the same homily, he questioned the background of refugees coming to Spain.

This week, the judge dismissed both cases over lack of evidence saying that “a generic accusation sprinkled with vague facts” is not enough “to trigger a criminal investigation.” He said that he saw no “public incitement to violence or hatred” in the cardinal’s homily.

A Spanish free speech advocacy group called HazteOir (Make Yourself Heard) led a petition drive in support of Cardinal Canizares during the trial. The US-based Thomas More Law Center also lent support to the cardinal by launching a “Je suis Canizares” campaign saying that his homily expressed an “opinion widely held by Spaniards.”

Even while he was under investigation, Cardinal Canizares and thousands of Valencians participated in an act of reparation after gay rights activists combined images of Our Lady of the Forsaken, patroness of Valencia, and Our Lady of Monserrat, patroness of Catalonia, to depict the two Madonnas kissing as promotion for the Valencia gay pride parade.