The States of Jersey are to debate civil partnerships, four years after they were made legal in England and Wales.

BBC News reports that although no date has yet been set for the debate, the Council of Ministers has agreed to take the matter to the House later this year.

Campaigners have welcomed the move, with Darren O’Toole, chairman of Progress Jersey, saying “The hardest thing is to get it in front of the States and get them to debate about it. It’s small steps, and the Council of Ministers making this decision was a huge step forward.”

He added it was possible that some gay couples who have lost their legal rights may mount a legal challenge against the States.

“It is a contravention of Human Rights law, which says two persons have the rights to marry and form a family.

“The important words here are person, rather than man and woman,” he said.