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Isle of Man finally passes same-sex marriage

Nick Duffy April 26, 2016
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The Isle of Man has finally approved same-sex marriage – meaning Northern Ireland is set to be the last place in the Isles without marriage equality.

As a crown dependency, the Isle of Man maintains autonomy from the UK on issues including marriage.

It was the last part of these islands to legalise homosexuality in 1992 – but a vote today confirmed it won’t be the last to introduce same-sex marriage.

The Manx Legislative Council today passed its Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Bill – with six votes in favour and three against.

The bill amends marriage laws to allow same-sex couples to tie the knot, as they can in Scotland, England, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

Same-sex marriage proposals have been greenlit in Jersey and Guernsey – meaning that Northern Ireland is the only remaining part of these islands where marriage equality continues to be blocked.

The chief minister of the Isle of Man, Alan Bell, recently opened up about his sexuality.

He said: “People know that I’m gay. I’ve never made a secret of it, but no one has ever asked me.”

Mr Bell also opened up about the ‘dark days’ on the Isle of Man during the 80s and 90s, when deeply homophobic comments were made by politicians arguing homosexuality should remain a criminal offence – often while he was in the chamber.

He said: “It was disgusting. I felt dirty at the end of it. I felt for a period ashamed to be Manx because of the debate that was going around.

“You can read the Hansard now but you won’t be able to feel the emotion of being on the receiving end of those words in a parliamentary setting.”

Bell continued: “[The Irish referendum] helped to clarify my thoughts on a few things, and picking up the reaction locally I’ve not heard a single negative reaction to it, and that’s quite heartening.”

“Everyone who loves their partner, whether same-sex or otherwise, must have equal rights to share their lives.

“It’s a totally logical human right and human expectation that straight couples and gay couples should be able to enjoy life with the partner that they choose and I totally support that.”

 

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