The States of Jersey have agreed to legalise civil partnerships for gay couples.

The vote, held today, passed with an overwhelming majority, with 48 of the 53 members in favour.

Currently, Jersey’s same-sex couples do not have the same rights as heterosexual married couples and the law change will redress the balance. The Civil Partnerships Act, which was passed in England and Wales in 2005, legally recognises unions between same-sex couples.

The law will not come into force immediately. It must first be drafted and go to the Privy Council for approval.

Jersey, the Isle of Man and Guernsey are Crown dependencies.

Laws passed at Westminster do not normally apply to the dependencies, which have their own parliaments and taxation, customs and immigration systems.

They are not part of the UK or the EU, though they are counted as UK territory for the purposes of nationality, defence and foreign affairs.

Each of the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey and the Isle of Man have the option of introducing their own civil partnership legislation, though UK civil partnerships are recognised on the Isle of Man.