Friday, May 15, 2009


An interesting event will take place in Gibraltar’s Parliament this coming Monday (May 18). The Minister for Justice, Daniel Feetham, will seek the support for a motion that will allow him to bring forward an amendment to the Criminal Offences Act that will see the age of sexual consent for homosexuals brought in to line with that for heterosexuals.

Obviously the move has the government’s “blessing” so why is it a private member’s bill? Quite simply because as it is deemed a matter of conscience MPs will be able to vote as their personal conviction demands – hence ruling GSD MPs do not have to support it.

Now the vote on May 18 will be on Feetham’s right to introduce the legislation and not on the bill itself. So if the MPs vote “no” then his bill will not even receive a hearing.

In the wider world the ages of consent for heterosexuals and homosexuals are more often than not the same. However Gibraltar is not the wider world and government policy on homosexuals is conservative in the extreme. For instance the government will only grant housing units to conventionally married couples and not those of the same sex.

It could be argued that as the opposition is made up of socialists and liberals then Daniel Feetham should be able to count on their support. Even if that were true – Feetham has in the past attempted to politically bugger the leader of the opposition, Joe Bossano – so there is no love lost there.

Now as Daniel Feetham is a legal eagle and I do not want to attract any writs let me explain more fully. Feetham returned to Gibraltar after being a member of New Labour in England. He joined the GSLP – a party his father had served as a minister. Then when Joe Bossano refused to make way for the young pretender Feetham quit the party and formed the Labour Party in direct opposition. It was only when that party fell flat on its face at the 2003 General Election that the now Minister for Justice dumped it and scurried over to the GSD winning his seat in 2007.

Hence it is unlikely that Feetham will receive any favours from the honourable members opposite. So what of his own party? The likelihood is that some of the MPs of the GSD have grave doubts about the legislation (and may be about Daniel Feetham too). Hence it could well be that his motion will go down in flames... leaving Daniel Feetham truly buggered.

1 comment:

Marcus said...

When it comes to its laws on Gay couples - Gibraltar is still in the dark ages. The vote on Monday may be settled on local issues as you suggest - but at some stage the EU will drag (no pun intended) the Rock in to the 21st century.