Government finally equalises housing policy
Equality Rights Group GGR Chairman, Felix Alvarez (pictured left) has acknowledged Government’s announcement that it has changed its policy in housing allocation to recognise the right of a lesbian couple to joint tenancy of a government flat. This follows the decision of the Privy Council, the UK’s highest court, that discrimination against same-sex couples in housing issues by the Government of Gibraltar was illegal.
“There was never any sense or benefit,” said Mr Alvarez, “to anyone in insisting that a same-sex couple should not be able to live together, and that, instead, they would be granted two separate housing units instead of one!” Mr Alvarez stated. “This change benefits everyone who is looking for government housing in Gibraltar in a situation of housing stock shortage.”
“Furthermore, what a dreadful waste of tax payers’ money this stubborn and behind-the-times attitude of Mr Caruana’s has turned out to be!” indicated Mr Alvarez. “Let us hope the Chief Minister has learnt his lesson in modern equality law on this occasion and does not subject the public to a similar waste of money on the pending claim regarding equalisation of the age of consent in Gibraltar. Certainly, GGR will continue to press for equality in this area of law, as well.”
“On the housing issue, whilst it has taken several months since the Court decision for Mr Caruana to finally make public this change in policy in compliance with a legal requirement, there was never any doubt whatsoever that it would have to come about. Same-sex couples today needing government housing now clearly know they will need to be treated on equal terms with other citizens.
“It is a matter of regret, however, that so much public money had to be wasted in pursuing a claim that was evidently going to fail – not only because of legalities, but also because public opinion has shifted not only Europe-wide on many of these issues, but in Gibraltar itself. People today just do not see discrimination in this field as fair or correct any more. We are confident that full equality for gay people is just round the corner, and GGR will continue working for it, whether Mr Caruana likes it or not.”