A Senator in Jersey has been criticized for attempting to derail an upcoming vote on same-sex marriage.
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, leaving both without same-sex marriage.
A proposal to legalise same-sex marriage in the Bailiwick of Jersey had been submitted Deputy Sam Mézec of Reform Jersey, and was due to be discussed on Tuesday.
However, according to LGBT group Liberate, a last-minute motion from Home Affairs minister, Senator Ian Le Marquand, would instead send the bill to a ‘scrutiny’ panel, while a separate amendment proposed by Le Marquand would send the bill to a public consultation.
Martin Gavet, Chair of Liberate, said: “This makes us feel very angry indeed. It is yet another political tactic to delay fundamental rights to every citizen in Jersey, of whatever sexual orientation.
“This goes against the wishes of the majority of Jersey’s population. According to a poll in the Jersey Evening Post 81% of respondents were in favour of marriage equality”.
“Apart from the attempt to block Deputy Mézec’s proposal, this political manoeuvring sends a negative message to the population of Jersey and the international community that not every one of Jersey citizens is to be treated fairly and equally in both dignity and rights.
“Such attitudes continue to encourage the hate speech that has been so clearly evident recently in both Jersey and Guernsey, most recently from the Jersey Evangelical Alliance.”
Last week, a letter Jersey Evangelical Alliance – which represents a quarter of churches in Jersey – claimed that same-sex marriage should be banned because ‘infidelity’ is common in homosexual relationships.
It read: “Rather than extending the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples, redefining marriage would introduce the instabilities and infidelities commonly associated with homosexual relationships into society’s understanding of marriage.”
Deputy Nick Le Cornu had previously predicted that the bill would pass without issue, saying: “I think it’s an open door.”