Equality Rights Group has recently met with the Governor to advise him on its work on the 'Convicted for Love' Campaign which, although based in the UK, ERG has been formally assigned to also lead on in Gibraltar.
'It's also relevant to us here,' Chairman Felix Alvarez, has said.
‘When Gibraltar partially decriminalised homosexuality in 1993, men who had been considered criminals under the law ceased to be so in some respects. Yet it is difficult to imagine the pain and shame of men (the law did not affect women) who had up to then been convicted under an outdated and unjust Victorian law lived under in a small community such as ours,’ a statement from Equality Rights Group explained. 'It is difficult to know how many reputations and lives were destroyed at that time, but we owe it to those men (and their families) whose only ‘crime’ was to engage in consenting relations, to formally wipe the slate clean. That is why ERG is supporting and moving in Gibraltar on this Campaign, led by Unite the Union and LGBT British activist Terry Stewart.'
Having been formally assigned by Mr. Stewart to lead in Gibraltar on this Campaign, it is some time now since ERG raised the matter directly with both the Chief Minister and the Minister for Justice, both of whom gave their immediate and unequivocal favourable support for implementation of the Campaign’s aims.
However, since under the Gibraltar Constitution 2006, the functions of the Governor are assigned by the Crown under the Royal Prerogative, Chairman Felix Alvarez has brought the matter personally to Governor Ed Davis' attention, noting that ERG has been in touch with Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as part of the Gibraltar role assigned to the organisation by the British Campaign.
‘Today, pardons are rare, but the ‘prerogative of mercy’ technically rests with the Queen, which in effect means the British Government; and more particularly, the Secretary of State for Justice. It was therefore appropriate to inform and advise His Excellency of developments, which so far are looking as if they may resolve favourably.
‘In effect, once Minister Rudd makes the decision, the situation is much less complex. In modern governance, it is the Government who takes the decision to pardon, despite the formal protocols. ERG is pleased to be working both with the Government of Gibraltar and the British Government through the Campaign to right a wrong that has gone on for too long,’ the statement ends.