Guernsey could have gay marriage ‘by the summer’

Marriage|January 4th 2017

Gay couples on the Channel Island of Guernsey could be legally able to marry by the summer, a government official has estimated.

Both Guernsey and Jersey are politically autonomous. As a result, their laws were not affected by the legalisation of gay marriage in England, Scotland and Wales. In 2015, the island’s parliament, called the ‘States of Guernsey’, passed a measure making marriage available to same sex couples. It was approved by a margin of 35 votes to five.

At the time, LGBT rights groups said they were “ecstatic” at the result of the vote. Ellie Jones, the vice-chair of one such organisation called ‘Liberate’, said they were “proud that the result of the vote corresponded with the majority of islanders” who reportedly supported the measure by a huge margin.

However, the bill did not enter into law right away. This was because, despite the political independence Guernsey enjoys, the island is still a British Crown Dependency.  Therefore, the new law needed to be approved by the UK Privy Council, a formal body of advisors to the monarchy.

This week, Employment and Social Security Committee Vice President Shane Langlois said the Council had finally given Royal Assent to the law. This will allow Guernsey to finally implement the measure. Langlois said that he expected same sex marriages to start on the island by the summer, but warned couples against making plans straight away because an exact date has yet to be decided.

The approval of same sex marriage means that Guernsey joins England, Scotland, Wales, the Republic of Ireland, Jersey and the Isle of Man in embracing equality. Northern Ireland is now the only part of the British Isles which does not grant marriage rights to gay couples.

Photo by Robert Linsdell via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

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