19th January 2016, 12:24
The Opposition would support legislation in favour of same sex marriage. This was announced by the GSD Leader in his New Year message, broadcast on GBC. Daniel Feetham said his party would continue its long-standing policy of allowing members of Parliament a free vote on matters of conscience and that he would defend the right of its members to their own individual opinion. Marriage, he said, is a very important institution 'that binds people who love each other together' and all GSD MPs are in favour of the state opening this up to same sex couples.
Mr Feetham says society is strengthened by that commitment, and allowing gay people to take those vows in a non-religious ceremony and to make those commitments do not threaten the institution and 'will in the long run strengthen it and the values associated with it'.
Mr Feetham highlighted the importance of a good, effective Opposition, and said his party would be reaching out to the community to see how it could better represent it. It would also, he said, continue to advocate prudent finances, so that the core services we enjoy are not threatened by overspending. The Opposition Leader reiterated his willingness to work with the Government on issues of importance to Gibraltar, such as the EU referendum and constitutional reform.
The Equality Rights Group has welcomed the Leader of the Opposition’s statement on One Civil Marriage Law for All.
ERG Chairman Felix Alvarez says it has taken sixteen years for this moment to arrive with the GSD, but the pressure group says it has continued its dialogue with all sectors in both civil society and in the political parties throughout that long period. It feels the issues and the debate have now been fully engaged.
According to the ERG, Gibraltar has slowly started to overcome the taboos and prejudices of the past. They think there’s still some way to go, but believe human and civil rights are now central to political and social considerations locally. The ERG says Gibraltar is a society "emerging to position itself at the forefront of advanced European nations in every respect".