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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 25, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 39
Island of Jersey approves same-sex marriage
Section One
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Island of Jersey approves same-sex marriage

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The legislature of the Island of Jersey voted to approve same-sex marriage on September 22.

One of the Channel Islands between England and France, Jersey is legally a Bailiwick of the old Duchy of Normandy, whose Dukes became Kings of England in 1066.

Elizabeth II is Queen of Jersey, but the island is not part of the United Kingdom. Instead it has its own legislature, the Assembly of the States, and is self-governing.

The vote on the marriage law was 37-4 with one abstention. The bill conferred a series of rights on same-sex couples, but requires enabling legislation to be passed.

The Jersey States passed four separate proposals related to marriage:

(1) to agree, in principle, that appropriate legislation should be brought forward for approval to allow same-sex couples to get married in Jersey, with the legislation to

o include civil marriage and religious marriage with appropriate safeguards in place to protect the rights of religious organizations and their officials who do not wish to conduct same-sex marriages;

o include allowing people in civil partnerships to convert their partnership into marriage;

o include retention of terms such as 'husband and wife,' and 'mother and father' in legislation;

o not include a spousal veto in respect of gender recognition;

(2) to agree, in principle, that current legislation should be amended to confer parental responsibility automatically on unmarried fathers who are named on birth certificates;

(3) to agree, in principle, that new legislation should be brought forward for approval to allow for the introduction of a system of divorce and dissolution making it a legal requirement to access and use mediation services subject to appropriate safeguards and human rights considerations;

(4) to request that the Chief Minister bring forward for approval by the States Assembly, no later than end January 2017, the draft legislation necessary to give effect to these proposals.

Among local dignitaries who lent their support to the measures was the superintendent of the Jersey Methodist Church, Rev. Graeme Halls, who said that the Church does not believe in inequality.

Jersey is the first of the so-called 'Crown dependencies' to act on marriage equality. Guernsey, another Channel Island, and the Isle of Man, between England and Ireland, have legislation pending.

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