Same-sex marriage in Gibraltar

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Legal status of same-sex unions

* Not yet in effect, but automatic deadline set by judicial body for same-sex marriage to become legal

LGBT portal

Same-sex marriage in Gibraltar has been legal since 15 December 2016. A bill for legalisation was approved by the Parliament on 26 October 2016 and received royal assent on 1 November 2016. Gibraltar has also allowed civil partnerships since 28 March 2014.

Civil partnership[edit]

In January 2014, a civil partnership bill was published for community consultation and headed for introduction in the Gibraltar Parliament.[1] On 21 March, the bill was approved by Parliament with no noticeable opposition.[2] The bill was given royal assent on 25 March, officially becoming the Civil Partnership Act 2014. The law and related rules and regulations took effect on 28 March.[3][4][5][6] The law also allows adoption of children by couples in a civil partnership, as mandated by a recent court ruling in 2013.

21 March 2014 vote in the Gibraltar Parliament[7]
Political affiliation Voted for Absent (Did not vote)
 G  Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP) -
     Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD)
 G  Liberal Party of Gibraltar (LPG, or Libs) -
Total 16 1

Same-sex marriage[edit]

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe¹
  Civil union
  Limited domestic recognition (cohabitation)
  Limited foreign recognition (residency rights)
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples
¹ May include recent laws or court decisions that have not yet entered into effect.

The GSLP–Liberal Alliance, who were re-elected in 2015, included the following commitment in their election manifesto: "We will now publish a Command Paper in order to take the views of the public on how to best deal with the request by some for civil marriage to be extended to same sex couples. We are totally committed both to ensuring that religious denominations are not forced to change their practices, beliefs or sacraments in any way and to the principle that the State must not discriminate between individuals based on the grounds of sexual orientation. The results of the responses to the Command Paper will be published by June [2016]."[8] The Equal Rights Group said it did not go far enough and asked for more commitment to introduce same-sex marriage.[9]

On 22 December 2015, a command paper on introducing same-sex marriage was published and was under consultation until 15 January 2016.[10][11][12] On 4 January 2016, it was announced that the consultation period had been extended to 29 January 2016.[13][14][15] On 5 January 2016, a spokesman for the Government stated that a referendum on the issue had not yet been ruled out until all the comments submitted by the public had been considered.[16]

On 18 January 2016, in his New Year message, GSD leader Daniel Feetham declared his support for same-sex marriage and, despite allowing members of his party a free vote on matters of conscience, stated that his parliamentary colleagues all declared their support for the issue as well. He then stated that it was up to the Government to decide on how to proceed with the issue when the time comes.[17][18]

On 20 January 2016, it was announced by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo (GSLP) that there would be no referendum on same-sex marriage after a parliamentary debate on the issue was initiated by the Opposition.[19][20] In that same debate, the Chief Minister stated that he expected the feedback from the consultation process to actually improve the bill on same-sex marriage.[21]

On 21 March 2016, the Government announced that it had received 3,490 responses in regards to the public consultation and that, due to the controversial nature of the subject, it would establish an Inter-Ministerial Committee (composed of four members of the Government: Gilbert Licudi, Samantha Sacramento, Neil Costa, and Albert Isola) to listen to the views of the various groups and many of the individuals who expressed a view on the subject, and report its findings back to the Cabinet by June 2016.[22][23][24] In response to the Government's announcement, the chairman of the Equality Rights Group (ERG), Felix Alvarez, questioned the commitment of the governing GSLP-Liberal Alliance to legislate on the matter and urged both the LGBT community at large and their friends and supporters to remain calm and reserve their responses until the Government comes up with a definitive answer on how to handle this situation. Based on their own statistics and past advocacy efforts, ERG claimed that over 63% of those consultation responses were in favor of same-sex marriage and that the situation shouldn't be made more complicated than it should be.[25]

On 15 August 2016, a government bill on the legalisation of same-sex marriage was published.[26][27][28] On 26 October 2016, the Civil Marriage Amendment Act 2016 was passed in the Gibraltar Parliament with unanimous support from all 15 members present during the vote. An amendment to remove a controversial part of the bill, which allows deputy registrars to opt out of conducting same-sex marriages was defeated 11 to 4 with only some of the Opposition MPs voting in favor.[29][30][31] The bill requires that, in circumstances where a deputy registrar does not agree to officiate a same-sex marriage, an alternative registrar must be assigned to conduct the marriage.[32] The bill received royal assent on 1 November and took effect on 15 December 2016.[33][34] The first same-sex marriage in Gibraltar was performed the following day.[35][36]

In May 2017, a same-sex couple seeking to convert their civil partnership into a marriage were told to divorce first by authorities, who cited a lack of legislation for converting a civil partnership to a marriage. This occurred despite the Gibraltar Equality Rights Group confirming that such a provision existed in the law, and that the matter was simply one of excessive paperwork.[37][38]

26 October 2016 vote in the Gibraltar Parliament[39]
Political affiliation Voted for Absent (Did not vote)
 G  Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP)
     Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD)
 G  Liberal Party of Gibraltar (LPG, or Libs) -
     Independent -
Total 15 2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Command Paper on a draft bill to make provision for civil partnerships
  2. ^ Gibraltar approves civil partnerships bill
  7. ^ "Proceedings of the Gibraltar Parliament (Friday, 21st March 2014; Morning Session)" (PDF). 21 March 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  8. ^ GSLP/Liberals Manifesto 2015, pages 95-96
  9. ^ "ERG asks for more commitment on Equal Marriage". GBC: Gibraltar News. 16 November 2015. Archived from the original on 17 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Command Paper on a draft Act to make amendments to the Marriage Act to make provision for same sex marriage and enable civil partners to convert their partnership into marriage" (PDF). Government of Gibraltar. 22 December 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2016.
  11. ^ Command Paper published on same sex marriage
  12. ^ We welcome Same Sex Marriage announcement – but we’re not quite there yet!, Equality Rights Group
  13. ^ Consultation period extended for same-sex marriage Bill (GBC)
  14. ^ Jan 04 - Extension Of Same Sex Marriage Consultation Period (YGTV)
  15. ^ Extension to Consultation Period for Command Paper on Marriage Act
  16. ^ Referendum on the question of gay marriage has apparently not been ruled out (GBC)
  17. ^ Opposition would support same-sex marriage legislation, says Feetham (GBC)
  18. ^ Jan 18 - New Year’s Message By The Leader Of The Opposition (YGTV)
  19. ^ BREAKING NEWS: there will be NO Referendum to decide same-sex marriage! (ERG)
  20. ^ Jan 20 - ERG Welcomes Parliamentary Announcement (YGTV)
  21. ^ New members debut in Parliament (GBC)
  22. ^ Over 3,400 responses to ‘Equal Marriage’ Command Paper (Gibraltar Chronicle)
  23. ^ Nearly 3,500 submissions on equal marriage command paper (GBC)
  24. ^ Equal Marriage: Responses to Command Paper
  25. ^ Mar 21 - ERG Says Government's Behaviour Regarding Equal Marriage Consultation Is "Fidgety And Indecisive" (YGTV)
  26. ^ "Bill to allow civil marriage between same-sex couples". GBC: Gibraltar News. 15 August 2016. Archived from the original on 17 December 2016.
  27. ^ Gibraltar puts same-sex marriage bill before Parliament
  28. ^ "Civil Marriage Amendment Bill 2016" (PDF). Government of Gibraltar. 15 August 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2016.
  29. ^ "Equal marriage bill passed by Parliament". GBC: Gibraltar News. 26 October 2016. Archived from the original on 17 December 2016.
  30. ^ Gibraltar approves same-sex marriage
  31. ^ Gibraltar votes unanimously to legalise same-sex marriage
  32. ^ "Parliament passes same-sex marriage law". Gibraltar Chronicle. 27 October 2016. Archived from the original on 17 December 2016.
  33. ^ "Civil Marriage Amendment Act 2016 [No. 22 of 2016]" (PDF). Government of Gibraltar. 1 November 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2016.
  34. ^ "Civil Marriage Amendment Act 2016 - Notice of Commencement" (PDF). Government of Gibraltar. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2016.
  35. ^ "First same-sex marriage takes place on the Rock". GBC: Gibraltar News. 16 December 2016. Archived from the original on 17 December 2016.
  36. ^ "Gibraltar celebrates first same sex marriage". Gibraltar Chronicle. 17 December 2016. Archived from the original on 17 December 2016.
  37. ^ "Gay couple must get divorced to receive wedding certificate". Gibraltar Olive Press. 25 May 2017.
  38. ^ "ERG accuses Government of not delivering on drug rehabilitation improvements & other social issues". GBC Gibraltar News. 28 June 2017.
  39. ^ "Proceedings of the Gibraltar Parliament (Wednesday, 26th October 2016; Morning Session)" (PDF). 26 October 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.