The Trade Union Congress has called on Jersey to catch up with England and Wales, by introducing same-sex marriage.

Though same-sex marriage is legal in England and Wales, and will be introduced in Scotland this autumn, it is still illegal in the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland.

The Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey –  which have a combined population of just 165,000 –  maintain autonomy from the UK as crown dependencies, and are not subject to British law.

Though Guernsey’s Chief Minister Jonathan Le Tocq has pledged to introduce civil unions, Jersey is yet to do so.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Not everyone wants to get married, but those who do should be able to – their sexuality shouldn’t be a barrier.

“Same-sex couples on Jersey are keen for the same rights that LGBT couples have in England and Wales, and will soon have in Scotland.

“It makes no sense for them to be denied the opportunity to tie the knot if they are keen to marry. I hope that Jersey soon changes its laws to allow same-sex weddings.”

According to Channel Islands LGBT group Liberate, the States of Jersey Greffe will discuss an equal marriage at its meeting next month.

Liberate Chair Martin Gavet said: “We sincerely hope that the States of Jersey will see this as a major step in ensuring that it treats all of its citizens fairly and equally in terms of freedom, dignity and rights.”

A recent poll in Jersey suggested 81% of islanders support same-sex marriage.

A petition calling for equal rights has attracted more than 1,000 signatures.