Alvarez: 'We trust we have closure on Age of Consent now'
Commenting on the recent statement by the Minister for Justice in Parliament regarding the age of sexual consent, Equality Rights group (GGR) Chairman, Felix Alvarez, has welcomed what he says he trusts is ‘closure on the political and legal process in this following the formal announcement that the age is to be set at 16.’
‘While we always respected the right of the community at large to decide on the specific applicable age, GGR started the campaign to achieve a sexual-orientation neutral legal age of consent from its very first day. In September 2000, when we launched and issued our first press release, one of the top demands was an equal consent age. Today, after 12 years of campaigning, and almost a year after the Supreme Court declared inequality in this area of law to be unconstitutional, the political process may finally have come to rest.
‘We must now await details of the manner in which this announcement will be implemented and come into effect through unequivocal parliamentary and legislative provision.
‘So why did we identify this issue as being so important from day one?’, Mr Alvarez continued.
‘Because a) we realised it might take time to achieve, but that it was achievable, b) we realised that laying down this foundation was a very visible and clear corner stone not only for transmitting the message of equality but also for fostering open dialogue throughout Gibraltar society, c) the process of achieving equalisation in this would spur modernisation of Gibraltar in the field of human and civil rights generally, and d) gay people deserved better. In a situation where young people feel the pressure of inequality at a seminal moment in their physical and psychological development, sending out a signal of acceptance can only be a good thing.
‘GGR welcomes Minister Licudi's annnouncement. And we thank government for its commitment to equality. But we also thank all citizens (gay and straight), who by actively participating over the years in arguing for equality, have played a crucial part in making this possible.
'Equality is a long road. GGR knows this, and has the stamina to continue working to achieve more for our citizens,' Alvarez ended.