ERG calls for Constitutional reform to include sexual orientation


‘Equality Rights Group (ERG) welcomes statements by the GSLP/Liberal Alliance to the effect that they intend to initiate a process of constitutitional reforms should they be re-elected into government next month,’ Chair Felix Alvarez has stated today.

‘There is much to discuss and debate on this very wide topic, and no doubt the process of discussions will be lively. In the certain talk of (among other things) whether to enlarge the Parliament in the hope of creating a back-bencher system, or to establish parliamentary sub-committees with an eye to creating a more ample system of checks and balances, it will be easy for fundamental social rights to be overlooked.

ERG will not allow the LGBT+ community to be passed over.

‘ERG is realistic in understanding that reform of this nature is likely to be extended in time. Nonetheless, it looks forward to progress on primary reform, but sets its requirement for clear, explicit sexual orientation protections within the Gibraltar Constitution to be established in our primary law. A clear fundamental clause in this vein should form part of new reforms addressing the rights of LGBT+ citizens of Gibraltar.

‘We fully acknowledge the very significant progress Gibraltar has made since 2011 under the GSLP/Liberal Administration with respect to the rights of the LGBT+ community of Gibraltar. This is expressed across a range of separate legal instruments which have received parliamentary approval over the years. What is missing is a basic, fundamental safeguard and protection within Gibraltar’s primary law: the Constitution. It is time this absence were history.

‘What is needed now are constitutional protections, couched in terms that will safeguard the fundamental rights that have been won, one by one, over this period and which cannot be permitted to become the plaything of any future Administration with an appetite for undoing the basic human and civil rights of the LGBT community.

‘As Chair of ERG, I am fully aware of how much it has cost to build the peace and justice that has taken so long to root itself in our community, despite what used to be an erstwhile atmosphere of suffering, covert discrimination and homophobia.

It is thus absolutely clear that constitutional protections for LGBT+ citizens cannot be overlooked or put aside; it is the next important step Gibraltar can and must take. And ERG is fully committed to seeing this crowning legal protection through to realisation.

‘Having said this, navigating the deep social change which ERG’s decades long campaigning and work with the Administration has taken to the safe port we now experience, must not blind us to the deep obligations and serious responsibilities to which we must be bound.

‘We very much trust,’ Mr. Alvarez adds, ‘that the role of Minister for Equality continues treating the position with the gravitas and focus on serving others the role requires, progressing on the substantive changes that are still required; whether that be the long pending questions of full UN Convention rights for persons with disabilities or the legal prohibition of conversion therapy in Gibraltar, an issue much promised and little effected thus far.