A law allowing same-sex couples to have civil partnerships, thereby giving them legal recognition and adoption rights similar to heterosexual couples, has come into force in Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands.

Although the idea had been agreed in principle by the States in 2009, when the bill passed with an overwhelming majority, it has taken almost three years for the legislation to be fully drafted and approved.

Steven Edwards, who has been campaigning for legal equality for gay couples, said that people who’ve had civil partnerships in the UK will have their partnerships legally recognised in Jersey. This means that they could open a bank account, buy property, and have access to inheritance, he added.

The BBC has noted that more than 50 other laws had to be re-worded to put same-sex partnerships on the same footing as straight couples.