Following the refused tenancy of a lesbian couple in May, Isle of Man Chief Minister Allan Bell weighs in on the “distressing” lack of legislation protecting the rights of same-sex couples.

Kira Izzard and Laura Cull were refused rental of a Ramsey property on the basis of their sexual orientation. Now, in following up the incident, Allan Bell has stated that the story has highlighted significant gaps in Manx legislation.

He added: “This is obviously very distressing for people who find that they have no remedy under the island’s law when faced with discrimination.

“It also leaves the island vulnerable to adverse publicity and reputational damage when cases of discrimination come to light.

“I have therefore met officers from the Attorney General’s chambers and asked that the Equality Bill now be treated as a high priority.”

After being refused their tenancy on a home, Ms Izzard and Ms Cull launched an online campaign calling for a change in the law. Ms Cull said she was “shocked and sickened” to discover that the landlord was acting within the law.

“I didn’t know where to go or what to do as I didn’t have a legal leg to stand on so after speaking with my partner Kira we thought that the only thing we could do was to share our story with as many people as possible and try and raise awareness that on this beautiful island that we call home we can still be treated this way,” she added.

The petition has gathered the support of almost 1,500 people.