Ministry for Justice considers legislation to tackle ‘disgusting lurking homophobia’
The Ministry for Justice and Equality will “urgently” consider whether Gibraltar needs legislation to make it a specific crime to denigrate a person because of their sexual orientation.
The move was revealed in Parliament by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and comes against the backdrop of “disgusting lurking homophobia” on social media as a result of initiatives and events to mark Pride month earlier this year.
“The Government will not accept the continued homophobia we are seeing,” Mr Picardo said.
“The Government will therefore monitor whether it may be necessary to further bolster our legislation to make it a specific criminal offence to denigrate a person as a result of their sexual orientation.”
“There can be no doubt that such behaviour is at the very least bullying of the worst sort.”
“It may be that there is no choice but to also make it a specific criminal offence, and I am asking that our Ministry for Justice and Equality should urgently consider this.”
“Homophobia, like racism, sexism and antisemitism, is not just the preserve of other continents,” he said.
“It’s there is Europe. It’s there in Russia and in Hungary. But it will not be tolerated here.”
Mr Picardo, who was praising the work of Equality Minister Samantha Sacramento after 10 years in the post, said Gibraltar had progressed immensely in recent years, including with laws on same sex marriage, IVF and surrogacy.
He spoke highly too of Christian Santos, Gibraltar’s first openly-gay mayor who was demonstrating the value of diversity, and of Jonathan Pizarro, a Gibraltarian author who has written frankly and powerfully about “demons that lurked in the undergrowth” of this community and whey the “needed to be banished”.
“Let us not for one moment believe that it is funny or clever to discriminate against a person for their sexual orientation,” Mr Picardo said.
“Whilst I have breath in my body I will continue to ensure that we move only in one direction in this respect, forward.”
“We have no reverse gear on rights and progress and neither does this community.”
“I have a warning for those who would oppose us on these issues.”
“The progressive road to equality is a one-way road.”
“Anyone who stands against progress, anyone who stands against rights, anyone who is in favour of reversing the laws to prevent these discriminations needs to understand that they will have ferocious opposition from the majority to any such attempts.”