One step closer to same-sex civil marriages on the Rock

2016-08-25 08:00:00

The Gibraltar government has published a bill to amend the Civil Marriage Act so that same-sex couples can marry in civil ceremonies. The government stressed that if the bill becomes law, it will not change the definition of ‘marriage’ as defined by any religion.
The news generally seemed to be welcomed, particularly by the Equality Rights Group (ERG) which has actively campaigned for this change in legislation.
In a press release on Wednesday, ERG stated that: “It is a very touching experience for us, after having struggled with hostility and non-recognition for so long, to witness the broad changes in public opinion and social attitudes that have occurred. They occur when people talk to each other and start the process of understanding. In this process, not only do individuals begin to recognise the many commonalities we all share whilst slowly discarding obstinate, and all too often distorted perceptions, but we can come to recognise the ‘humanness’ of the other side. We are particularly touched by the recent public congratulations and support expressed by the Gibraltar Women’s Association. Both ERG and the GWA are fundamentally interested in issues of equality rights. It will be good to develop strong ties of cooperation between us and commence a journey of mutual support and solidarity as we move into the future. Our deepest and sincerest thanks to the GWA and to all the good people of Gibraltar.”
However, not everyone was happy about the news. Gibraltar’s bishop-elect, Monsignor Carmelo Zammit, who is to be ordained in Malta on 8 September, said that for Roman Catholics, marriage is the union of a man and woman and that partnerships between same-sex couples should not be called marriages. Monsignor Zammit intends to express his concerns to the government.source surinenglsih