An unexpected parliamentary maneuver has prevented the government from passing the Comprehensive Sexual Freedom Guarantee Act, better known as the Act of the only yes is yes. As of late Tuesday evening, that final approval remains up in the air. The executive hoped that in today’s plenary session, the Senate would confine itself to ratifying the text presented by Congress, which would facilitate its immediate entry into force. But the PP has joined their votes to a trivial amendment by Junts per Cataluya, an amendment whose text is already part of the drafting of the norm. It has done so, essentially forcing the project to be sent back to the House of Commons for final approval.
As the Equal Opportunities Department explained, there is still a chance to approve it without having to return to Congress. They point out an error and “wait for it to be fixed”. At 9:30 p.m. they were still there. On the other hand, sources in Congress confirm that “either the government is asking for an extraordinary plenary session [ya no hay agendado ninguno hasta la vuelta del verano] either [quedará] for September”.
If the law of only yes is yes It had already had a hectic pregnancy, and its last Senate trial ended in chaos. The intention of the ruling parties was to have all amendments struck down in the House of Lords for approval without further delay or deviation. The surprise came with the approved amendment, the relevance of which is nil, but which forces Congress to postpone the final process, which will only become active again after the holidays.
The episode is even more bizarre because the amendment renders verbatim a paragraph of the preamble approved in the House of Commons with a simple variation of one letter, which also has the appearance of an error. This is Amendment No 93 of the Supplement, ie it was proposed to add something to the text; in this case to the preamble.
Where the project speaks of “to identify and respond to the most covert acts of sexual violence, such as female genital mutilation, the detection of cases of abortion and forced sterilizations,” Junts’ alternative proposal refers to “to identify and respond to down to the hidden acts of sexual violence such as female genital mutilation, the disclosure of abortion cases and forced sterilizations”. A “forced” for a “forced” would also be grammatically incorrect.
However, the amendment was also accepted for processing, voted and carried through thanks to the support of the PP, something not even the Junts Independents expected.
The first surprise was the Minister for Equality, Irene Montero, who ended a long debate of more than four hours with a speech welcoming the adoption of the law. “Today we are fulfilling a very clear mandate from the women’s movement,” emphasized the minister. “The ‘Only yes is yes’ is henceforth an order for the state”. Montero, like the vast majority of speakers, denounced the “reactionary” and “denier” arguments put forward during the debate by Vox Senator José Manuel Marín, who even ironically commented on the content of the law: “Is it necessary to give a yes throughout the plot? At intervals? Is it worth a “Follow” or “More”?”.
The words of the extreme right representative drew criticism from all but the PP. The popular also resisted, albeit with different arguments. They claim the text is “legal fudge” that “violates the presumption of innocence”. Javier Maroto, Speaker of the People’s Party in the Senate posted a tweet shortly after the voting ended: “Minister Irene Montero has come to the #Senate today to give her last ‘big speech’ on the day of the final approval of her ‘Only Yes is Yes’ law. Well, the law wasn’t approved. It will be returned to Congress. Congratulations, Irene…”.
This maneuver by the PP has stopped what the left and the nationalists instead see as a “decisive step” in defending and protecting women from sexual violence. According to environmental regulations, this will be one of the most avant-garde, with more extensive articles that condense and adapt more specific situations to the current context in which this type of sexist violence occurs.