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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes


Constitution Year 1978
Last Amended 1992
Source Senate of Spain
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

Section 14

Spaniards are equal before the law and may not in any way be discriminated against on account of birth, race, sex, religion, opinion or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.

Section 16

(1) Freedom of ideology, religion and worship of individuals and communities is guaranteed, with no other restriction on their expression than may be necessary to maintain public order as protected by law.
(2) No one may be compelled to make statements regarding his or her ideology, religion or beliefs.
(3) No religion shall have a state character. The public authorities shall take into account the religious beliefs of Spanish society and shall consequently maintain appropriate cooperation relations with the Catholic Church and other confessions.

Section 27

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Freedom of teaching is recognized.
(2) Education shall aim at the full development of human personality with due respect for the democratic principles of coexistence and for basic rights and freedoms.
(3) The public authorities guarantee the right of parents to ensure that their children receive religious and moral instruction in accordance with their own convictions.
(4) Elementary education is compulsory and free.
(5) The public authorities guarantee the right of all to education, through general education programming, with the effective participation of all sectors concerned and the setting-up of educational centers.
(6) The right of individuals and legal entities to set up educational centers is recognized, provided they respect constitutional principles.
(7) Teachers, parents and, when appropriate, pupils shall participate in the control and management of all centers supported by the Administration out of public funds, under the terms established by the law.
(8) The public authorities shall inspect and standardize the educational system in order to ensure compliance with the laws.
(9) The public authorities shall help the educational centers which meet the requirements established by the law.
(10) The autonomy of Universities is recognized, under the terms established by the law.

Section 30

(1) Citizens have the right and the duty to defend Spain.
(2) The law shall determine the military obligations of Spaniards and shall regulate, with all due guarantees, conscientious objection as well as other grounds for exemption from compulsory military service; it may also, when appropriate, impose a community service in place of military service.
(3) A civilian service may be established with a view to accomplishing objectives of general interest.
(4) The duties of citizens in the event of serious risk, catastrophe or public calamity may be regulated by law.

Section 53

(1) The rights and freedoms recognized in Chapter 2 of the present Part are binding on all public authorities. Only by an act which in any case must respect their essential content, could the exercise of such rights and freedoms be regulated, which shall be protected in accordance with the provisions of section 161(1)(a).
(2) Any citizen may assert a claim to protect the freedoms and rights recognized in section 14 and in division 1 of Chapter 2, by means of a preferential and summary procedure before the ordinary courts and, when appropriate, by lodging an individual appeal for protection (recurso de amparo) to the Constitutional Court. This latter procedure shall be applicable to conscientious objection as recognized in section 30.
(3) Recognition, respect and protection of the principles recognized in Chapter 3 shall guide legislation, judicial practice and actions by the public authorities. They may only be invoked before the ordinary courts in accordance with the legal provisions implementing them.


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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