Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar has today published a Bill to amend the Marriage Act to delete section 6B.
Section 6B, as it currently stands, gives the option for a Deputy Registrar to opt out from performing the marriage of a same sex couple.
In 2016 when the Marriage Act was amended to enable same sex marriages to take place with the passing of the Civil Marriage Amendment Act 2016, it was felt important to provide statutory protection to Deputy Registrars to exercise freedom of conscience by virtue of section 6B. This section would not, however, in any way affect the ability of a same sex couple to marry as in the event that such a situation were to arise, an alternative Deputy Registrar would be appointed.
The reality is that since 2016 when the law to enable same sex marriage came into force, there has never been a single objection by a Deputy Registrar. It is therefore felt that this statutory protection in the Marriage Act is no longer necessary.
Minister for Equality, Samantha Sacramento MP, said: “The amendments to the Marriage Act to allow for the marriage of same sex couples came into effect almost three years ago. During this time, there have been plenty of same sex marriages and there has never been a situation where the protection afforded by section 6B has been required. Taking this into consideration, I now propose that this section be removed from the Marriage Act and I have today published a Bill that would give such an intention effect.”