Gibraltar, the British overseas territory, has legalized same sex marriage via unanimous support. This follows the territory’s other efforts at promoting equality in recent years; for example, civil partnerships were legalized in 2014 and gay couples were allowed to adopt in 2013.
The territory, which has its own parliament that handles almost all internal matters separately from the UK, passed the Civil Marriage Amendment Bill by a vote of 15-0. Gibraltar’s parliament also considered an amendment that would have allowed civil public servants the authority to refuse to marry same sex couples; however, this proposal was defeated by a vote of 11-4. The legislation does prevent a priest or church from being forced to perform a religious marriage for a same sex couple.
Fabian Picardo, the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party’s Chief Minister tweeted: “I am proud to lead the GSLP/Liberal Government that has delivered equality at last.”
Felix Alvarez, Chairman of Equality Rights Group Gibraltar, commented: “Today is a happy and long-awaited day for many in Gibraltar. Equality Rights Group extends a big thanks to all the LGBTI community and also to the very special people who have fought unfailingly alongside us. There is still much to do, and we will achieve it together, because it’s not the Law that changes people – it’s the People that change the Law! And we have proven that to be a poignant truth today…. when Gibraltar, despite its differences, puts them aside and shows it cares, it is impossible not to feel immense pride in our country and our people. Let us continue learning to live in peace and co-existence, side by side. Let us respect each other.”