LGBT rights in Gibraltar

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LGBT rights in Gibraltar
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Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1993,
age of consent not equalized
Gender identity/expression Transsexual persons not allowed to change legal gender
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex couples
Adoption -
Military service Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly

In Gibraltar, the age of consent is 16 for heterosexuals and lesbians, while the age of consent for gay males is maintained at 18. Gay male sexual conduct was decriminalised in 1993, where the above conditions were defined.[1]

The 2006 Constitution does not mention sexual orientation. The proposals, made public early March 2002, specifically omitted direct reference to "sexual orientation" as a category to be constitutionally protected. Other categories are clearly included.[2]

Political campaigning prior to the 2007 Election was prominent with equality rights organisation Gib Gay Rights (GGR),[3] headed by human rights campaigner Felix Alvarez openly challenging the incumbent Chief Minister, Peter Caruana for more rights in Gibraltar for gay and lesbian people, and others who are discriminated against.[4]

There is presently an inequality between English law and that of the British overseas territories, particularly in relation to Gibraltar, which joined the Eurpoean Union under the British accession and is bound by EU requirements.[5][6][7][8]

Campaigning on the issue of an equal age of consent of 16 has been strongly undertaken.[6][9][10]

The issues were raised at the Foreign Affairs Committee enquiry into the overseas territories in 2008, where they concluded:

We recommend that the Government should take steps to ensure that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender status is made illegal in all overseas territories.[11]

On 18 May 2009, the Gibraltar Parliament approved by Government majority leave for a private members Bill, proposed by the Minister for Justice, to equalise the age of consent. This was opposed by the GSLP/Liberal opposition for technical reasons due to the way the Bill was written. The Government gave its Members of Parliament a free vote on the Bill. It was defeated, as the Government members were split on its approval, and the opposition members all voted against it.

The influential Gibraltar Women's Association (GWA) has called for the age consent to be levelled at 18.[12]

On 1 October 2009, new proposed legislation would enable the Government of Gibraltar to ask the Supreme Court to test whether existing or draft laws are compatible with the Constitution. This would provide a simplified, purpose-built mechanism to deal with contentious issues such as the age of consent.[13]

In March 2010, the Government of Gibraltar was seeking an opinion from Court of the age of consent legal issue to see if the law is discrimination under the principles of the European Council [14] [15].

On 1 April 2010, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Milliband pointed out that if a British overseas territory is unwilling to meet 'international obligations' such as equalising the age of consent it may be imposed by an Order-in-Council. [4] [5] [6] [7]

Summary table

Homosexuality legal Yes (since 1993)
Equal age of consent No (law under review)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only Yes (since 2005)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays allowed to serve in the military Yes (under UK military since 2000)
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also


External links


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