Guernsey passes same-sex marriage law

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Same-sex marriage has been approved in Guernsey by a vote of 33-5.

The Balliwicks of Jersey and Guernsey (the Channel Islands) – which have a population of just 165,000 – are crown dependencies, and retain autonomy from the United Kingdom. Both Guernsey and Jersey continue to ban same-sex weddings.

Last year, the Jersey States overwhelmingly accepted proposals that begin to bring Jersey into line with England, Wales and Scotland, by permitting same-sex couples to wed.

Today, the Guernsey States also voted to introduce same-sex marriage by 33 to 5, in the culmination of a years-long process.

Once approved by the Privy Council,  it is expected that the first same-sex marriages in Guernsey will be able to take place from mid-2017.

Until today Guernsey was of the few places in Western Europe – and the only place in Great Britain or the UK – which does not allow either civil partnerships or same-sex marriage.

Ellie Jones, Vice-Chair of LGBT group Liberate, said: “We, as a charity, have been working tirelessly since our inception to bring about equality in the island; and the LGBTQ community on the island have been working towards this result for many years.

“We are ecstatic that Guernsey is now a more equal place to live and that the States have demonstrated their support for LGBTQ islanders, some of whom have waited a very long time to be able to get married.

“Given that 80-90% of the population responded in favour of marriage equality in the 2015 States consultation, we are proud that the result of the vote corresponded with the majority of islanders’ clearly expressed wishes.

“We would like to thank all of those in the States and the wider community who have worked so hard to bring this about, and we wish luck to all whose who will be hearing wedding bells in 2017!”

Same-sex marriage is currently law in England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, and has been approved in the Isle of Man and Jersey. It continues to be blocked in Northern Ireland.

Proposals are underway in Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man – but all progress continues to be blocked in Northern Ireland.