A lesbian couple who were refused a joint tenancy in government housing in Gibraltar are to appeal in the UK.

Three years ago, the Housing Allocation Committee refused to grant them a joint tenancy on the basis that they were unmarried.

Local law states that only parents, spouses and children can be included in a Government tenancy agreement.

The Gibraltar Chronicle reports that lawyers for the women have argued that the decision breaches their fundamental Constitutional and human rights but this argument was rejected by the Supreme Court.

After the couple appealed at the Court of Appeal, it was ruled that the government was entitled to protect the ‘traditional family’ by favouring straight married couples when allocating state housing.

The couple will now argue their case in front of the Privy Council in London after being granted permission by acting Chief Justice Anthony Dudley.

The self-governing British overseas territory, which shares a land border with Spain, still has a higher age of consent for gay sex.

Gibraltar also retains criminal offences such as buggery and gross indecency, which exclusively criminalise gay men.