Guernsey chief minister calls for changes to allow same-sex couples to adopt

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Guernsey must change its laws to allow same-sex couples to adopt, its chief minister has said.

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

The islands lag behind England, Wales and Scotland on LGBT rights issues. In Guernsey civil partnerships were never introduced, same-sex marriage is not recognised and same-sex adoption is illegal, while the age of consent was only equalised in 2010.

However, Guernsey’s Chief Minister Jonathan Le Tocq has said that changes need to be made in order to recognise international law – including allowing same-sex couples to adopt.

The existing law will be discussed at a States Meeting next month, with a number of changes proposed.

The explanatory document says: “There are a number of deficiencies in the current adoption legislation; namely, the Adoption (Guernsey) Law, 1960, (hereafter ‘the Law’) which has needed to
be updated for a number of years.

“The Health and Social Services Department is planning to carry out a full review of the Law but, in the meantime, there is one change that could be made to the Law that would tie in with the work of the Policy Council’s Social Policy Group.

“The issue in question regards the inequality of unmarried and same sex couples in adoption legislation and processes and this Report recommends a change to the Law to address this issue.”

Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq told the BBC: “It’s about fairness really. The proposals will be a recognition of an enduring relationship between couples whether they are same sex or not.”

The discussions are tabled for Wednesday, 24th June.

The agenda for the same day includes other interesting items such as changes to regulations on the importation of bull semen.

Guernsey chief minister calls for changes to allow same-sex couples to adopt

Both Jersey and Guernsey are also in the process of considering implementing same-sex marriage.