Guernsey recommends introducing same-sex marriage
Proposals have been set out recommending the introduction of same-sex marriage in Guernsey.
The Balliwicks of Jersey and Guernsey (the Channel Islands) – which have a population of just 165,000 – are crown dependencies, and retain autonomy from the United Kingdom. Both Guernsey and Jersey continue to ban same-sex weddings.
Last month, the Jersey States overwhelmingly accepted proposals that begin to bring Jersey into line with England, Wales and Scotland, by permitting same-sex couples to wed.
Today, the Guernsey States also laid out proposals in a States Report to introduce same-sex marriage.
According to LGBT rights group Liberate, the report recommends the island’s government agree to the introduction of same-sex marriage – and to direct the preparation of legislation on the issue
It follows a 6-week consultation period in June this year in which 90% of respondents (1,200 out of 1,337 responses) agreed or strongly agreed with the principle that Guernsey should be seeking to achieve “a non-discriminatory equitable system for the legal recognition of committed couples”.
Liberate Chair Martin Gavet said: “We very much welcome the States Report published by the Policy Council today, which seeks to address a fundamental inequality in the way our island treats its citizens under existing law and policy in terms of their dignity and rights.
“For over a millennia, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people have been persecuted by both the State and the established and non-established Church, as well as other institutions.
“We have been traditionally treated effectively as second class citizens, although we pay the same taxes – simply because of who we are or who we love.
“Thankfully we are living in much more enlightened times in which we have witnessed the decriminalisation of homosexuality and now we are seeing many jurisdictions recognising that love knows no boundaries – with equal marriage being introduced in 22 jurisdictions across the world to date.
“These proposals are reflective of how far our society has come, and that it is the will of the majority and no longer the minority.”
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Mr Gavet added: “We remain concerned as to when, if approved, these proposals will be enshrined under Law.
“It has taken Guernsey since 2006 to get this far and it is our earnest wish that any new law on equal marriage is brought before the Assembly by 2017, as in Jersey.
“The LGBT community has exercised considerable patience and understanding in getting to this stage and we would hope that the new parliament which comes into effect in May 2016 will afford equal marriage and other social policy work streams that seek to build a fair and equal society the same degree of importance as this current term.
“We would like to see a committed timescale to bringing in these changes.”
Same-sex marriage is currently law in England, Wales, Scotland – with weddings set to begin in the Republic of Ireland soon.
Proposals are underway in Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man – but all progress continues to be blocked in Northern Ireland.