Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

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

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Age of Consent: We call for 'reconciliation of differences' between Justice Minister and Women's Association

GGR suggests ‘near to age’ provisions in consent law to bring together the community

Equality Rights Group GGR Chairman Felix Alvarez has called for a ‘reconciliation of differences on the age of consent issue between the Minister for Justice and the Gibraltar Women’s Association. Both, after all,' says Mr Alvarez in a statement to the Press, 'are in favour of an equal age of consent. Let all parties therefore engage constructively on seeking the best way forward in the interests of Gibraltar as a whole.’

‘In this respect,’ stated Mr Alvarez, ‘I believe that it may be useful, as a suggestion, for ‘near-to-age’ provisions in age of consent law found in other jurisdictions to be taken into consideration as a means to reasonably addressing the feelings of community opinion. ‘Near-to-age’ in this context means that the law can be written so as to make sexual activity legal between persons close to each other in age, but still set margins beyond which an unacceptable difference in age between one partner and the other would be determined in law. This may reasonably address the issue of predators. For example, if the consent age were set at 16, there is nothing to stop the law from requiring that consenting sex be lawful between a 16 year old and a person up to no more than two years older. However, once 18, the person would be free to engage in any consenting relationship. It is important not to lose sight of the fact that this debate is, indeed, about consent, and that we already have laws to deal with sex where consent is absent. The two issues are often, but should not be, confused.

‘As Chairman of GGR, I am more than happy to engage in talks with the Minister for Justice on the matter," Mr Alvarez ended.