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Privy Council grants right to joint tenancies for unmarried partners | Gibraltar

The Privy Council (the final court of appeal for Gibraltar) decided that a prohibition on the grant of joint tenancies to unmarried partners (unless they had a child in common) unlawfully discriminated against same sex partners and violated the Gibraltar constitution.


Rodriguez v Minister of Housing of the Government & Anor [2009] UKPC 52

PC - 14 Dec 2009

The appellant applied to be granted a joint tenancy for their government flat, to provide her same sex partner with long term security in the event of her death. The Gibraltar Housing Allocation Committee refused the application on grounds that joint tenancies were only usually approved if the application was made by "a married partner, parent, adult child or
common law partner of the tenant" - and then only to common law partners where there was at least one minor child in common living with them. The Board unanimously held that there was discriminatory treatment which could not be justified. The difference in treatment was not directly on account of the appellant's sexual orientation, because there are other unmarried couples who would also be denied a joint tenancy. However, in this case, the criterion is one that this couple, unlike other unmarried couples, would never be able to meet. They will never be able to get married (there is no
civil partnership or equivalent in Gibraltar) or have children in common, and this is a form of indirect discrimination because of their sexual orientation. The discriminatory effect of the policy could not be justified.

The full text of the judgment can be found under Documents.

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