Gibraltar Votes Unanimously to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Gibraltar/St. Michael's Cave/Lonely PlanetGibraltar/St. Michael’s Cave/Lonely Planet

The Civil Marriage Amendment Bill 2016 was passed unanimously by the government in Gibraltar on October 26, 2016. There are an estimated 30,000 citizens currently residing in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory on Spain’s south coast. Gibraltar joins England, Wales and Scotland in legalizing same-sex marriage in Europe.

Gay Times reports that “Same-sex sexual activity has been legal in Gibraltar since 1993, although the age of consent was only equalised in 2012. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could adopt, and in 2014 civil unions were introduced for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.”

“The definition of ‘Holy Matrimony’, a sacrament of the Catholic Church, or of the respective rites of marriage in the Jewish, Islamic or Hindu religions, is entirely unaffected,” a Government statement read when the bill was entered into parliament August 15, 2016. “Nothing that is being proposed in this Bill has any bearing on the religious concept of marriage.”

“We have not taken this process lightly and we have treated this clearly important subject matter with the respect that it deserves,” said Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo in a statement on August 15, 2016. “I wish to make it clear that this law relates to civil marriage and not to the sacrament of Holy Matrimony or the rites of marriage in any religion. I want to also thank all those who replied to the Command Paper we issued and those who engaged directly with us in the Consultation process. Their input has been greatly valued by me and by all of my colleagues and the Bill we publish today is improved by those discussions. I am particularly happy that this Bill is being published as a Government Bill and not a Private Members Bill.”

Gibraltar now has one equal marriage law for all. #LoveIsLove I am proud to lead the GSLP/Liberal Govt that has delivered #EqualityAtLast

— Fabian Picardo (@FabianPicardo) October 26, 2016

Today Equal Marriage is a reality in Gibraltar and this is what it means: https://t.co/ZQqkYsyIqs @GibraltarGov

— Fabian Picardo (@FabianPicardo) October 26, 2016

Felix Alvarez, Chairman of Equality Rights Group Gibraltar, said: “Today is a happy and long-awaited day for many in Gibraltar. 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.”

Historic Civil #Marriage Amendment Bill 2016 is passed unanimously. @FabianPicardo said: ‘A landmark day for #Gibraltar & this #Parliament‘

— HM Govt of Gibraltar (@GibraltarGov) October 26, 2016

In an editorial post titled, “ERG: We are proud of Gilbraltar!” Alvarez wrote, “As we celebrate this important advance for the LGBTI community, let us remain just as adamant to support and achieve advances for other sectors within Gibraltar. Justice is not done only for us, but we must stand with others in their struggles, too. For instance, we now understand that the disabled community can expect to see a long-awaited law bringing them advances in rights by December of this year. They have been waiting for too long. And ERG trusts and hopes their patience will bear the kind of fruit for which they have been struggling.

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