ERG raises Equal Marriage delays

It is almost 4 years since the Civil Partnership Act was enacted, and 16 months since the amendment to Gibraltar’s marriage law was passed by Government, making equal marriage a reality at last. Both important changes formed a part of the long and on-going campaign work that Equality Rights Group has undertaken in favour of the Gibraltar community’s human and civil rights.

 As with any fundamental changes in the body of the law, there were multiple implied and consequential amendments that became necessary following the introduction of both civil partnership and equal marriage. ERG understood this, and we considered it both reasonable and responsible to allow sufficient time for the administrative details of the law to be brought into practical effect.

Section 40 of the Civil Marriage Amendment Act 2016 guarantees persons who have previously entered into a civil partnership to be able to convert that union into a formal civil marriage. This is not merely academic, there is an important human element to this question that cannot go unnoticed or uncommented.

‘We have been and continue to be sensitive to the impatience and frustration that has been mounting on this matter with respect to individuals for whom formal union is of such emotional, personal and social significance, and therefore the waiting time must really now come to an end,’ Chairman Felix Alvarez adds.

‘It is more than reasonable at this point, almost one and a half years after the legislative fact, to require the ‘conversion provisions’ of the law to be brought into practical effect without further delay and on application at the Civil Status and Registration Office by requiring individuals.

‘To this end, I have raised the issues directly with the Chief Minister,’ Alvarez explained, ‘in order to bring the matter to the most effective and earliest resolution. And I am pleased by the ready hands-on response he has demonstrated. I shall therefore be meeting with the Chief Minister very shortly, and look forward to a speedy and successful conclusion for all concerned,’ the statement ended.