Hundreds of people took to the streets of Jersey yesterday to protest the derailing of a proposed same-sex marriage law.
Same-sex marriage was due to finally be voted on in the Jersey Assembly last week, with proposals initially expected to receive an “open door”.
However, after bitter opposition from the Jersey Evangelical Alliance, an amendment tabled by Home Affairs Minister Ian Le Marquand passed by 24 votes to 18; creating a ‘public consultation’ that will further stall the bill while exploring the supposed ‘unintended consequences’ of equal marriage.
The St Hellier rally, which saw crowds of hundreds, was organised by Reform Jersey and LGBT group Liberate.
Martin Gavet, chair of Liberate, said: “[The vote] is indicative of how out of touch Jersey’s States are with those they serve. It flies in the face of a poll in which 81% of readers supported Equal Marriage.
“Fear and prejudice are born out of ignorance. The fear in the States Chamber was evident, with talk of the ‘unintended consequences’ of introducing equal marriage. Fear is the biggest enemy of change.
“I’m not sure whether some of those in the Chamber subscribe to the Chicken Licken theory that the sky will fall on their heads tomorrow if they vote in equal marriage.
“The only thing that will happen if gay marriage is introduced is gay people will get married.”
Deputy Sam Mezec of Reform Jersey said: “We need to push things on to the agenda more often because they [States politicians] won’t take the initiative without that.
“They need the pressure and that’s what all this is about… It’s about encouraging politicians to listen to the people for once.”
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.
(Photos: Liberate Facebook)