Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

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

Thursday, October 25, 2007

GGR welcomes debate on age of consent

Equality Rights Group GGR has today welcomed a call to open debate on the issue of age of consent made by Charles Gomez (NGD), an independent contender to recent Elections who obtained 1% of the votes.

“Indeed, as everyone knows, GGR has been openly talking of this issue for the past 7 years,” the group said.

“But why did Mr Gomez deprive voters of open debate regarding his policies on these long-standing issues by maintaining a studied silence on them? Especially when he acknowledges the issues are not simple and require debate,” the group asks.

“He did this not only during his Election campaign, but also we have no recollection of him ever having raised these issues in the very ample time since the start of his party. Indeed anyone can see that Mr Gomez’s Election Manifesto made zero mention of these issues.

“This is hardly consistent with the transparent, democratic approach Mr Gomez was keen to sell voters.

“It is peculiar that, in contrast to GGR’s years-long open advocacy for legislation to protect children against abuse, Mr Gomez did not join forces on such a public demand at the time of the 3,000 strong signature petition organised by GGR. It is equally surprising that he himself did not independently raise the matter or present options for the electorate to approve.

“Given the facts, we and the people of Gibraltar may be forgiven for having been left in some doubt as to Mr Gomez’s sudden public concern, since the issues of age of consent and protection of children have formed part of GGR’s public campaigns for many years now.

“On the substantive points, however, we take responsibility for our statements and noone else’s. This group has on multiple occasions made its position abundantly and publicly clear: we do not advocate a specific level of age of consent, simply that equality be applied in compliance with international human rights law.

“We believe that position on our part to be respectful with the public’s right to choose whilst defending the rights of minorities over the rule of the mob which we do not understand to be the basis for Democracy.

“GGR confides fully in the democratic process, and in the legal and rational foundation for Equality. There is no objective data to support the view – across any of the countries where age of consent Equality operates – that the collapse of Civilization is consequently imminent.

“Nonetheless, delicate issues of this sort deserve far more respect of the electorate, far more Reason, far more research, and far less irresponsible and opportunistic
scare-mongering. The answer is to deal justly and responsibly with two wholly distinct issues: that of protection of minors against abuse by criminals of any sexuality through appropriate legal means, and the eradication of injustice by eliminating inequalities in law.

“Let us have open debate by all means. But mixing up the two issues is either the product of regrettable ignorance, or of a deliberate attempt to cynically inflame and confuse the debate in order to politically exploit and take advantage in circumstances where the electorate has otherwise chosen not to be convinced,” the statement ended.