GIBRALTAR: Same-Sex Marriage Approved Unanimously

From the Equal Rights Group of Gibraltar:

Today is a happy and long-awaited day for many in Gibraltar. And Equality Rights Group extends a big thanks to all the LGBTI community and also to the very special people who have fought unfailingly alongside us. They are friends of Justice who, despite not being directly affected, have stayed by us in changing the world around us little by little. They have all meant a great deal to us. And we count on them to continue working with us as we progress in human and civil rights for all in this community. There is still much to do, and we will achieve it together, because it’s not the Law that changes people – it’s the People that change the Law! And we have proven that to be a poignant truth today!

There is concern among some members of the community regarding a Conscience Clause in the Bill which will allow Deputy Registrars who may have religious objections regarding same-sex marriage to be able to opt out of their employment duties. Government will be required, however, to provide a replacement celebrant. We understand the concern and the principle in question, the implications of which reach much beyond LGBT marriage.

Nonetheless, ERG will keep a very close eye on the practical working of this provision. We will monitor the day-to-day functioning of this part of the Bill and, should it be enforced, we will take the necessary actions in due course and based on evidence. But on days like today, when Gibraltar, despite its differences, puts them aside and shows it cares, it is impossible not to feel immense pride in our country and our people. Let us continue learning to live in peace and co-existence, side by side. Let us respect each other.”

Gibraltar, population 30,000, is one of 14 British Overseas Territories and is the fourth to legalize same-sex marriage. Montserrat and the Turks And Caicos have constitutional bans still in place.

(Tipped by JMG reader Luis)