The regional government had imposed a 20,001 Euros fine on Elena Lorenzo.
The Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the Madrid High Court Justice has nullified a fine of 20,001 Euros imposed by the Community of Madrid (the regional government of Spain’s capital city) to Elena Lorenzo in September 2019 for allegedly “promoting conversion therapies with the aim of modifying the sexual orientation or gender identity”.
The regional government of Madrid penalised the personal coach in application of the regional LGBTQI law, passed in 2016.
The High Court has now accepted the appeal of Asociación Abogados Cristianos (Association of Christian Lawyers) and considers that the Madrid administration incurred into “law fraud” in the collection of the previous information for the penalty process, which lasted 31 months, a time the court considered excessive.
“These procedural irregularities have led to an effective helplessness for the person accused and a full absence of the procedure”, the court says, and therefore there is enough base to “nullify” the whole process.
The Community of Madrid administration will have to pay back to Lorenzo a maximum of 2,000 Euros court costs.
The sentence does not assess the reasons for the fine and only focuses on the formal administrative procedure and the “unjustified and unreasonable time lapse” in which the proceedings were kept open.
The case against the personal coach Elena Lorenzo was opened in 2016, when the LGBTQI activist organisation Asociación Arcópoli presented a report to the Madrid Governmental Council of Social Policies, Families, Equality and Natality, denouncing the woman for an alleged administrative infraction of promoting what they described as “healing therapies of homosexuality”.
Lorenzo stated back then that she “never” offered healing therapies and underlined that what she offers is professional accompaniment to people who want to “leave homosexuality behind”. Furthermore, she questioned the scenario of lack of freedom and equality opened under the pro-LGBTQI law, which was approved only months before she was denounced.
In March 2019, the Community of Madrid said the denounce against Lorenzo could be a “very serious offense” against the law, and one month later, the regional coalition government, formed by the People’s Party (conservatives) and Citizens (centre liberals) publicly announced the fine against Lorenzo.
It was the highest fine imposed since the law had been approved in Madrid. Until then, there had only been eighteen fines for “minor infractions” punished with between 200 and 1,800 Euros.
By then, the courts had already by then nullified a fine imposed on the head teacher of a school in 2018, also denounced under the same law. Madrid had to return 1,000 Euros to the education professional.
The President of the Christian Lawyers association, Polonia Castellanos, said: “The process has been extended to five years without justification (…) This has been a clear case of ideological persecution by the LGBTQI lobby, which has been supported by the Community of Madrid”.
Castellanos added: “Everyone should have the right to go to whoever they decide to seek help, and we should not be consenting disproportionate penalties for these personal decisions”.