Isle of Man to begin consultations on same-sex marriage

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The chief minister of the Isle of Man has announced a public consultation on same-sex marriage, which will begin later this month.

A same-sex marriage bill is expected to be introduced to the Tynwald (legislature) next year, depending on the results of this consultation.

This marks definite progress in the crown dependency’s move towards marriage equality, especially given that it was last part of these islands to legalise homosexuality in 1992.

Allan Bell, the Isle of Man’s Chief Minister, told ITV of this new development: Holding a public consultation on same sex marriage marks the continuation of a 25-year journey.

“The Isle of Man has come a long way since the dark days of the 1990s and embracing this legislation would reflect our position as a progressive society that takes seriously the rights of vulnerable people and minorities.

“I recognise that same sex marriage legislation may generate some strong and polarised views. However, I believe that values of fairness and tolerance are shared by the overwhelming majority of people in our Island.”

Earlier in the year Mr Bell had signalled his support for a same-sex marriage bill saying:  “I don’t know if we’ll be able to get it in or not… but I hope at the very least we’ll have set the foundations to move in this direction before the end of this term.”

This move will likely mean that Guernsey or Northern Ireland will be the last part of these islands to legalise same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage is now legal across England, Wales and Scotland and the Republic of Ireland and there have been positive signals from Guernsey but it continues to be blocked in Northern Ireland.