Jersey holds first gay rights rally

Gay rights protestors Hundreds of flag-waving protesters turned out for Jersey's first ever gay rights rally

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Hundreds of islanders marched through St Helier on Saturday in the island's first ever gay rights rally.

It was organised in response to the States' vote on Tuesday to delay a proposition that would have led to same-sex marriage being made legal.

Protesters gathered in Royal Square at midday and paraded to Liberation Square to hear speeches and music.

The event featured speeches from Guernsey activist Martin Gavet and Senator Philip Ozouf.

Sam Mezec addresses gay rights rally Deputy Sam Mezec said the turnout for Saturday's rally was "incredible"

Deputies Sam Mezec and Montfort Tadier, of Reform Jersey, led the rally and also addressed the crowd at Liberation Square.

"We need to push things on to the agenda more often because they [States politicians] won't take the initiative without that," said Deputy Mezec.

"They need the pressure and that's what all this is about.

"It's about encouraging politicians to listen to the people for once."

Gay rights protestors march to Liberty Square The march temporarily blocked the road outside Liberation Bus Station
Martin Gavet addresses gay rights rally Martin Gavet said he had to marry his partner in Wales because of the law in the Channel Islands

Martin Gavet, of the pan-island campaign group Liberate, flew in from Guernsey to give an emotive account of how being diagnosed with a brain tumour prompted him to come out at the age of 38.

"I bring with me from across the water, the good wishes of your fellow islanders in Guernsey who also believe that one day we will all be free and equal, no-one left behind," he said.

Mr Gavet criticised evangelical church leaders who recently said gay people were more promiscuous than heterosexual people.

Gay rights protestors Liberation Square is the spot where Allied Forces liberated Jersey from Nazi occupation in 1945
Gay rights flag Many protestors flew rainbow flags in protest against inequality

Mr Ozouf, Jersey's Assistant Chief Minister and the island's only openly gay politician, said the matter was complicated.

"This is not a simple issue," he said.

"The Church don't want to be compelled and I understand that.

"I hope that changes in time but in the eyes of the state we want equality and we want it as soon as possible."

Philip Ozouf addresses gay rights rally Senator Philip Ozouf says he understands religious objections but wants equality in the eyes of the state
Gay rights banner One islander puts a Jersey twist on the international symbol of gay equality

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