A bill to allow same-sex marriage in Jersey has been stalled, as States members approved an amendment meaning a “detailed study” must take place.
The amendment was tabled by Home Affairs Minister Ian Le Marquand, who said same-sex marriage could potentially have “unintended consequences.”
It was passed with 24 votes to 18, and the amended bill passed with 39 votes to 1.
The Chief Minister must now conduct the consultation, however critics accused the amendment of being simply a delaying topic. Some said it could become a divisive issue during October’s general election.
Le Marquand said: “It is a highly significant matter we are debating here,” said Senator Le Marquand, who is not standing for re-election.
“I am passionate about marriage and I do not want anything, no matter how well meaning, to water it down.
“It is frankly insulting to the people of Jersey, whatever side of the argument, for us to be making a snap decision.”
Trans* Jersey’s founder, Vic Tanner Davy, said the organisation was disappointed with the outcome, saying: “We recognise that, as an issue, this is not a high priority for the majority of States members personally. As a result, it was clear that a number of States members had not done their homework and felt ill-prepared to vote on the matter. This was demonstrated most clearly by those concerned about the ‘unintended consequences’ of allowing equal marriage. Anyone who has studied the issue in detail will know that there are no ‘unintended consequences’ to equal marriage. We know that, once States members have had a chance to do their research over the summer, any concerns they may have will be put to bed and equal marriage will go forward.
“Today was a wake-up call to States members that they need to do their homework and come back to the chamber in full possession of the facts about why the island’s LGBT community needs this legislation. This is not a proposition that is going to go away and it is one on which members need to be clear where they stand as it will be an election issue in the autumn.”
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.