Saturday, 20th August 2011
AGE OF CONSENT, 16, FRAMED IN LAW
The age of consent for gay men is now enshrined in law at 16 in Gibraltar’s new criminal legislation, which was approved by Parliament just before the summer.
The change removes any discrimination between gay men and heterosexuals, reflecting the outcome of the earlier age of consent case in the Supreme Court.
The age of consent used to be 18 but the court said such discrimination breached EU rights.
The ruling had the practical effect of equalising the age of consent at 16 for everyone. Now, that change has been formalised in statute.
The change is included in the gender-neutral Crimes Bill 2011, which was passed by government majority in Parliament.
The Opposition abstained on the basis that the government had said it would consult the public on whether the age of consent should be increased for everyone, but that it had not done so.
The government rejected that argument and said the new legislation simply reflected the outcome of the court case.
It said its position on public consultation on this issue remained unchanged. However, such a process is unlikely ahead of an election.