Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

News and Information from Gibraltar on Equality, Human, Gay and Social Rights

Monday, June 11, 2007

Government's proposed Housing Bill is just 'business as usual'

Directing itself to both unmarried heterosexual couples and gays, Equality Rights Group GGR has today said that, as far as these groups’ interests are concerned, Government’s proposed Housing Bill is “nothing more than business as usual.” GGR openly criticises Government “when it implies through provisions under section 12 of this new law that gays and unmarried straight couples need not apply: you must be both heterosexual and married if you are to have any housing rights all. For Mr Caruana it’s either take it or leave it, do as I tell you or don’t bother to apply!”

“In effect, in this new law, the Gibraltar Government has gone out of its way to make sure that any innovation in the housing sector excludes these specific citizens from any possible benefits! In particular, plans put forward for the establishment of a “Housing Advisory Council” to supposedly assess and keep under review the housing market in Gibraltar means absolutely nothing to any of you: you will continue to be considered outside the eligibility criteria for Government housing and, as such, you are complete and utter non-entities for the purposes of the law.”

The statement continues by pointing out that “the new Housing Bill does nothing in terms of rectifying prejudice and discrimination from operating in the private housing market either, since gays and lesbians in Gibraltar are in no way protected under Gibraltar law from discrimination with regard to obtaining goods or services in the community – in other words, when going shopping as an ordinary consumer or checking into hotels, going into restaurants, bars etc. It is very much to the local private sector’s credit that such flagrant discrimination is not apparent on the Rock. Yet this no more satisfies the need for citizens’ equality than to say we should have no law against murder just because, mercifully, it occurs only rarely. In a modern, democratic society all citizens without exception or exclusion must be able to count on the institutions to guarantee positive rights. However much hype and spin might have been churned out by Mr Caruana and his Government, this is something that has not happened in the almost 12 years of Mr Caruana’s Government as far as sexual minority citizens are concerned, and we will not tire of reminding them, their families, their friends and all citizens who wish to see a more tolerant and equal Gibraltar that they must vote accordingly in the coming general elections.”