Friday, 21st March 2014

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ERG welcomes civil partnership rules

 The Equality Rights Group has welcomed the imminent approval of the Civil Partnership Bill, which is currently tabled in Parliament and will become law by the end of the current parliamentary session.

 Felix Alvarez, the chairman and one of its founding members, said it had taken almost 14 years since the ERG’s predecessor, the GGR, first demanded a series of measures in Gibraltar to bring justice to the local gay and lesbian community.

The group called for an equal age of consent and civil partnership, in addition to anti-discrimination measures to protect people against being treated differently both in employment and in the obtainment of services and goods. It also called for provisions to tackle hate crime and hate speech.

“Most of these goals have today been reached, with civil partnership – justly extended to heterosexual partners - the most long-awaited and desired of these measures,” Mr Alvarez said in a statement.

“And they have been reached because we were determined to campaign in a democratic, open manner.”

“Without apology and without recourse to anything other than an open dialogue with society in general, and the political parties.”

“It has been very difficult at times, but we never doubted the changes would eventually come, as we witnessed how support grew larger and wider as we counted the years.”

“For us, it is a source of much pride that this respect for open discussion and constitutional means has, with patience and determination, brought the fruits of much labour.”

Mr Alvarez nevertheless said there was more to be done.

He said goods and services anti-discrimination provisions still had to be introduced and that the group hoped they would be enacted before the current parliamentary term comes to a close.

“But, above all, there is a way to go because today we signal our continuing determination to care for the human and civil rights of all in this community who are still aggrieved by injustice,” he added in the statement.

“Caring cannot be limited to ourselves, but must extend to others and we hope that this tangible proof that determination and fighting against injustice does, in the end, pay off will also inspire and strengthen others in independent civil society organisations to redouble their efforts.”

“And for all of us to show solidarity with others across our population.”



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