Same sex marriage: ‘We’re not quite there yet’ says ERG
Equality Rights Group Chairman Felix Alvarez has thanked the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Equality Minister Samantha Sacramento following the Government’s announcement of the publication of a Command Paper on same sex marriage.
In a statement Mr Alvarez said: “Government ensured I was both fully briefed prior to the public announcement and made a party to the proposed text which has now been made public. We appreciate the gesture and the continuation of a good working relationship between ERG and Government on matters related to Gibraltar’s human and civil rights.”
‘The initiative, of course, is the culmination of ERG’s One Civil Marriage Law For All Campaign this past Summer which successfully led to the GSLP/Liberals’ Manifesto commitment to this stage proposal.”
“Whilst it is true that I led the movement for change on these matters almost 16 years ago,” adds Mr Alvarez, “there are very many people across the years whose work and support have been crucial to the on-going successes. We all share in our achievements collectively.”
“We have all contributed. Without you all and your solidarity it would not have been possible. I would like to especially mention my colleague and good friend Charles Trico, and all the individuals who have lent their efforts and support throughout the years in our Executive and on many and varied projects. If we have got this far, it is because of our joint fellowship and hard work. We ordinary citizens in civil society must continue to work together, overcoming differences, to reach forward in progress for Gibraltar.”
“I would, however, like to sound a note of caution to all the LGBT community, friends, families and supporters. We must note that, although we are nearly there, we haven’t arrived quite yet. This is a consultation stage. Despite the fact that we are confident that the proposal will make its way to Parliament in due course, we must not forget there are those who would still oppose this going forward.”
Mr Alvarez has further called the Group’s supporters to use the Government website address to express their satisfaction with and support for the proposed Bill.
“Having had a chance for preliminary discussions with Government on the proposals, we are particularly glad to have achieved various aims. In the first place, Civil Partnership will continue as an option in addition to Marriage. It is important that citizens have as wide a freedom of choice on their civil status as possible. Nonetheless, those couples who have already entered into Civil Partnerships – and the numbers have been substantial since the introduction of the law – will be able to convert to full Marriage status on application if they so wish.”
Mr Alvarez added that the ESG will continue to discuss the finer points arising from the proposals with the Government as they proceed towards final completion. “I am pleased, nonetheless, to be able to welcome this initiative and wish all Gibraltar a very merry Christmas and happy New Year.”