Gibraltar same-sex & straight adoption Court win

10/04/2013
Submitted by Equality Rights Group (GGR|)

Press Release – Wednesday 10 April 2013

GIBRALTAR EQUALITY RIGHTS GROUP WINS SAME-SEX ADOPTION RIGHTS

Following what Equality Rights Group (Gibraltar’s human and civil rights organization) described as ‘another landmark equality declaration by the Gibraltar Supreme Court’, the organization has welcomed the Chief Justice’s ruling in the case of a long-term established lesbian couple’s adoption application.

“Following IVF procedures, one partner donated her ova which were then subject to donor sperm fertilization, and the other carried the baby to term,’ Felix Alvarez, Chairman of the organization, explains. ‘Both the genetic mother and the birth mother are therefore directly linked mothers to their child via IVF treatment.’

‘Equality Rights Group warmly congratulates the couple (whose names are withheld in confidence) on their success in Court. They have been brave and determined in their application, despite social pressures, out of love for their child and for each other. GGR will continue to support individuals, regardless of any status, in just human and civil rights claims before the Courts, and we once more extend our gratitude to lawyer John Restano for his tireless and generous work in favour of people’s rights in our community.

Gibraltar’s Adoption Act to date has permitted the adoption of children to heterosexual married couples and to single persons. The ruling of the Court has found those limitations to violate the Gibraltar Constitution under sections dealing with the right to family life and non-discrimination (sections 7 and 14).

‘It will be recalled that in the 2009 Privy Council’s same-sex housing case involving Nadine Rodriguez and Alicia Muscat, the judgment of the UK’s highest court for overseas territories held, amongst other issues, that treating same-sex couples differently to heterosexual couples was overall discriminatory. Building on this and on other case-law, the unequivocal judgment of the Supreme Court in the positive on the issue of same-sex adoption is a step forward – but, importantly, not only just for gay couples, but also for heterosexual unmarried couples who now also have their rights to adopt protected under the Constitution. We believe it is right for the law to apply to all equally and not to create separate rights for different sectors. In our view, this is a fundamental doctrine our legal system should always uphold, and it is the reason why we, along with Unite the Union, believe civil partnership in Gibraltar (legislation for which is currently in the pipeline) should be available to both LGB and opposite-sex couples.

‘This judgment, however, is primarily about the rights of the child since, far overarching the rights of couples to be equally considered for adoption, however, the adoption process will always have to surmount the major hurdle of importance, which is, regardless of sexual orientation or civil status, the primary right of the child to a loving and stable home. That singular concern will always be paramount in any adoption procedure. In this particular case, the Court has been satisfied that these conditions are met, and in future all applications will be treated with exactly the same respect,’ the statement ends.

HUMAN & CIVIL RIGHTS FOR ALL

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