Current Affairs

Isle of Man opens civil partnerships to straight couples as equal marriage law gains royal assent

Nick Duffy July 19, 2016
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Isle of Man’s equal marriage law has finally been passed, as the law gained Royal Assent.

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

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

A law allowing same-sex marriage in the Isle of Man was passed by Tynewald (the Manx Parliament) in April this year.

Following the passage of the law, it was announced today that the law had been given Royal Assent by the Lieutenant governor

will come into effect this Friday, July 22, following the announcement of Royal Assent to the legislation in Tynwald today (Tuesday July 19, 2016).

Final implementation of the Marriage and Civil Partnership Amendment Act has been welcomed by Chief Minister Allan Bell, who is out and proud himself and described the move as an ‘historic moment’ for the Island.

The Act enables same sex couples to marry either in a civil ceremony, in a register office or approved premises, or in religious premises (except those of the Church of England) subject to the agreement of the religious organisation in question.

The legislation also makes the Isle of Man the first place in the Isles to allow opposite sex couples to enter into civil partnerships as an alternative to marriage. Civil partnerships have been available to same sex couples in the Isle of Man since 2011.

Mr Bell said: “Recognition of marriage for same-sex couples in Manx law is a truly historic moment, showing just how far the Island has travelled over the past 30 years.

“It sends out a clear message that the Isle of Man today is a modern, open and inclusive society where equal rights are respected. I believe that the values of fairness and tolerance reflected in this legislation are shared by the overwhelming majority of our population.”

The Marriage and Civil Partnership Amendment Act takes effect from July 22 under an appointed day order made after Royal Assent was announced in Tynwald. The appointed day order is not subject to Tynwald approval.

There will also be some consequential secondary legislation on a supplementary order paper at this sitting of Tynwald, relating to fees, social security and pension schemes.

It will be possible for same-sex couples to convert their civil partnerships into marriages free of charge, if this is done under the standard procedure in a registrar’s office before November 1 this year.

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