Same-sex marriage could be introduced in both Jersey and Guernsey by 2017, under two separate proposals lodged this week in the Channel Islands.
As crown dependencies, the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey – which have a population of just 165,000 – retains autonomy from the United Kingdom, and unlike England, Scotland and Wales, continue to ban same-sex marriage.
However, as part of a concerted push on the island to bring its legislation up to date, Jersey and Guernsey’s Chief Ministers have filed proposals to bring the island’s laws up to date.
Jersey’s chief minister Ian Gorst said: “It would be unreasonable, and inappropriate, to continue to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to get married.”
Martin Gavet of LGBT group Liberate said: “We very much welcome the positive news in both Guernsey and Jersey, regarding Equal Marriage.
“Jersey’s Chief Minister has confirmed his intention that, subject to the States of Jersey Assembly’s agreement, a draft law will be submitted by the end of January 2017.
“We are also delighted that on the same day, Guernsey’s Chief Minister has stated his intention to bring a States Report to the Guernsey Assembly by the end of this political term, following We would hope that the States of Guernsey consider this report well before the general election next year.
“The LGBT community in Guernsey has been very patient and waited alost a decade to get to this stage, after the States agreed originally to investigate civil partnerships.
“We see no reason why both Guernsey and Jersey cannot introduce new legislation giving equal marriage rights at the same time (i.e. by the end of 2017)”.
Chairman of Liberate in Jersey, Christian May, said: “We are heartened by the wording that the Chief Minister has chosen to use in his proposal that says, unequivocally, that ‘it would be unreasonable, and inappropriate, to continue to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to get married’.
“This is, of course, a sentiment that we share.”
Jersey recently passed an anti-discrimination law that protects people on the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation for the first time.