UK: Petition calls on Channel Islands to introduce same-sex marriage and reform equality laws

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A petition is calling on the Channel Islands to catch up with the mainland UK, by legalising same-sex marriage and introducing new equality laws.

Jersey and Guernsey –  which have a combined population of just 165,000 –  maintain autonomy from the UK as crown dependencies, and are not subject to British law.

They have lagged behind on LGBT issues, with Guernsey only equalising the age of consent in 2010, and Jersey introducing civil partnerships in 2012.

In Jersey there are no laws prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, while in Guernsey civil partnerships were never introduced and same-sex adoption is illegal.

Same-sex marriage is not recognised anywhere in the Channel Islands, and there are less provisions to help trans people transition.

A petition set up by newly-formed LGBT group Liberate is asking the Chief Ministers of both Jersey and Guernsey to update their laws, to bring the islands in line with Scotland, England and Wales.

Martin Gavet, the honorary chairperson of Liberate, told Pink News: “One of the areas the petition seeks reform in is allowing two people of the same sex to have the right to marry each other.

“Jersey introduced a Civil Partnership act in 2012 but Guernsey has no such law. There are calls on both islands to introduce Equal Marriage legislation similar to England and Wales.

“We are also seeking reform in other areas of social policy.

“This includes the introduction of anti-discrimination legislation and the right for transgender people to have their transition to their gender identity funded by the State.

“It is not just important to the islands’ international reputation to reform in this context – they have a moral obligation to treat all citizens equally and fairly.

“To refuse to do so, will just continue to adversely affect the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ islanders and send a clear signal to the international community that not everyone matters.”