Barcelona to erect monument to gays and lesbians
Madrid: The Spanish city of Barcelona will erect a monument to gays, lesbians and transgendered people who have been persecuted and repressed "throughout history", it announced on Thursday.
The exact site of the pink, triangular stone monument has not yet been decided, but a spokesman for the city hall said the square outside the Sacred Heart, or Sagrada Familia, basilica "is one location that has been proposed".
Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the city`s emblematic Antonio Gaudi-designed church last month as hundreds of gays and lesbians staged a mass "kiss-in" to protest the Roman Catholic Church`s stance on homosexuality.
A statement from the city hall on Thursday said the monument would be unveiled in February.
It said the inscription will read "In memory of the gays, lesbians and transsexual people who have suffered persecution and repression throughout history. Barcelona 2011."
Such a tribute has been demanded for some years by Spain`s LGTB gay rights association, the statement said.
Homosexuality was only legalised in Roman Catholic Spain in 1979, shortly after the death of dictator Francisco Franco whose regime shipped off gays to institutions that some activists have likened to concentration camps.
The Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has sought to promote gay rights as part of a strongly liberal social agenda.
In 2005, it passed a law to allow same-sex marriages, making Spain only the third member of the European Union, after Belgium and the Netherlands, to do so.
Since then, thousands of gay marriages have been performed in the country.
But the measure has drawn the ire of the Roman Catholic Church and a section of the conservative opposition Popular Party.
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