Jersey consults on gay marriage

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The States of Jersey has set-up an advisory board to receive comments on four government proposals for new legislation which could introduce gay marriage to the island by the end of next year.

The four options put forward for further discussion are the right for same-sex couples to marry, same-sex civil partnerships as in the UK, civil partnership for both heterosexual and same-sex couples, or no change to the current law.

The closing date for comments is 31st March 2008.

Senator Philip Ozouf, Jersey’s Minister for Economic Development, is the island’s only openly gay politician.

He told his preferred route is to follow the same civil partnership route as the UK.

“While we’re not part of the United Kingdom, I think the island community would be comfortable with that, and I think it’s deliverable.

“I don’t think it’s a second-class marriage. It is a different arrangement, but it’s as good as.

“The law will be drafted within 2008 and it could certainly be in by the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009.”

Senator Ozouf added: “I think it’s a mark of Jersey being an inclusive society respecting all sorts.

“It’s a modern, very successful small island state and has a modern and appropriate outlook on life.

“There’s also lots of rivalry between Jersey and Guernsey. So maybe you can ring up their chief minister and ask them when they’re going to do it!”

For details on how to contact the advisory board visit the States of Jersey website.