Court ruling on 'Unconstitutional' policy on same-sex couple leads to joint tenancy

Same-sex couple, Ms Rodriguez and her partner, are entitled to the fruits of their court victory and will be granted a joint tenancy, regardless of the effect of any general reformulation of the policy that may be introduced in response to the ruling, says the Gibraltar government.

On the 14th December 2009, the Privy Council (reversing both the decisions of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of Gibraltar) ruled that the long established policy of the Housing Department to allow 'joint tenancies' of Government flats only in favour of a spouse, parent, adult child or common law partner (with children in common) of the tenant, was unconstitutional. The reason being, according to the Privy Council that this discriminated unlawfully against homosexual couples because they could neither marry nor have children, and thus could never qualify.

The Court ruled that the Housing Department must have a policy "which does not exclude same sex partners who are in a stable, long term, committed and inter dependent relationship from the protection afforded by a joint tenancy".

The Government says its housing policy is based (as it has always been) around the traditional nuclear family, and the protection of the interests of children of unmarried heterosexual couples.

Despite its policy, the Government says it has no option but to reformulate the policy in terms that complies with the Privy Council's ruling, that is, that it does not discriminate against same sex couples of the sort described by the Court in its ruling.

WIDER ISSUES

They add: "The reformulation will have to take account of wider issues, such as the fact that it is unacceptable to the Government that same sex couples should be in a better position than childless unmarried heterosexual couples, or brothers and sisters and other close nuclear family relationships." In the meantime, the Government goes on to say, Ms Rodriguez and her partner are entitled to the fruits of their court victory.

25-03-10



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