Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Civil partnership first for Isle of Man authority

Douglas Borough Council
Image caption Douglas Council is the island's first local authority to receive approval

Douglas Borough Council has become the Isle of Man's first local authority to receive approval to hold civil ceremonies for same-sex couples.

The Approved Place status granted by the chief registrar means gay couples can use Douglas's Town Hall for their civil partnership for the first time.

Council leader David Christian said: "We look forward to welcoming couples, their families and friends."

Douglas's council chamber has been granted the status for three years.

'Happy occasion'

Homosexuality was illegal under Isle of Man law until 1992. The age of consent was set at 21 but has since been lowered to 16.

Gay couples on the Isle of Man were first able to hold civil partnership ceremonies at the General Registry in Douglas following the introduction of the The Civil Partnership Bill, in April 2011.

Mr Christian added: "This is yet another first for the council and we look forward to welcoming couples to celebrate their happy occasion.

"The imposing surroundings of the council chamber have long served as the backdrop to animated debate, so the chamber will provide a fitting setting in which to hold civil ceremonies".

The new status means the Town Hall in Douglas will be able to act as a licensed venue for the solemnisation of civil marriages and formation of civil partnerships with immediate effect.

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