London's Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ruled Monday that a lesbian couple from Gibraltar, a self-governing British territory, was discriminated against when attempting to secure government housing.
Three years ago the Gibraltar Housing Allocation Committee denied the lesbian couple, whose names were not revealed, joint tenancy in a government apartment. Under the law, only parents, spouses, and children can be included in a government tenancy agreement.
After losing in the Gibraltar supreme court and court of appeal, in October the couple appealed to Gibraltar's highest court, London's Privy Council.
The five British judges found that housing officials in Gibraltar discriminated against the lesbian couple because of their sexual orientation and rejected the argument that the law was protecting the traditional family unit.
"The appellant and her partner have been denied a joint tenancy in circumstances where others would have been granted one," the Privy Council said in its 13-page judgment, reports the Gibraltar Chronicle.
"They are all family members living together who wish to preserve the security of their homes should one of them die."