Jersey has passed a law to allow civil partnerships – including giving gay couples the right to tie the knot in church if they – and religious organisations – wish.

As the island is a crown dependency, all government decisions must go through the formality of approval by the privy council.

This may take around six months but it is hoped that ceremonies can begin at the end of the year.

An ‘opt-in’ amendment to allow ceremonies in religious buildings was added earlier this month and was passed by 30-6 votes.

However, the Church of England has said it will not allow civil partnerships in its buildings.

Jersey’s deputy chief minister Philip Ozouf, who is openly gay, said: “The island’s parliament has sent a strong message of Jersey being an open, accepting and tolerant society.”

Speaking to BBC News, he added that the legislation “is not the same as marriage but it is an absolute equivalent to marriage”.