The Gibraltar Government has paved the way for legalising civil marriage between same sex couples after publishing a Command Paper on the subject.
The Government has completed drafting amendments to the Marriage Act to enable the consultation process to begin. This reflects the policy of the Government that such a consultation process should be commenced by the issue of a Command Paper.
The draft Bill to amend the Marriage Act, which is how the change to the law would be made, was yesterday published as a Command Paper.
This is the start of the consultation in the legislative process. This stage is before the proposal becomes a Bill for consideration and debate in Parliament.
The standard time frame of two weeks, which has been the norm for Command Papers, has been extended to three weeks in this instance as a result of the Christmas break.
The Minister for Equality, Samantha Sacramento, said: “The Government is committed, as set out in the GSLP-Liberal manifesto, to publish this Command Paper in order to consider the views of the public in a wide consultation on the introduction of equality in respect of civil marriage.”
“The proposed amendments to the legislation do not impose or require changes on the part of any religious denomination to their practices, beliefs or sacraments, none of which will be at all affected by the proposals we are consulting on as part of this consultation exercise.”
“This is a major piece of legislation which will promote the principle of equal treatment of citizens under the law.”
She added: “The Government is pleased to have progressed this matter through the drafting stage in less than a month after the General Election. I am looking forward to considering the views of the public in respect of this proposal.”
The Command Paper is available online: http://www.gibraltarlaws.gov.gi/commandpapers/C14-2015.pdf