Jersey equal marriage paper published

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

Same sex couples could marry in Jersey by the end of 2017 under plans revealed by the Chief Minister.

Senator Ian Gorst said it was clear from responses to an island-wide consultation that marriage was important to people in Jersey.

He said: "Our aim is to uphold marriage for all couples, all families and for the wider community."

States members will be able to vote on a law change at some point before the end of 2017.

Senator Gorst said: "Although many have strongly-held contrasting views on whether marriage should evolve to include same-sex couples, they nevertheless agree on its importance."

He said they would be bringing forward same-sex marriage legislation and looking at what the States of Jersey should do to support marriage and families generally.

Commitments made in the report

  • Bring forward legislation which will allow same-sex couples to get married in civil and religious ceremonies by the end of 2017
  • Safeguard the right of religious organisations and officials who do not wish to conduct same-sex marriages
  • Develop a family policy statement by the end of 2015, setting out what the States should seek to do to support families and marriage in all their forms
  • Consider the legal rights for co-habiting couples
  • Consider whether the grounds for divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership should be amended
  • All draft legislation will be subject to full public consultation

Jersey's government introduced civil partnerships for same-sex couples in 2012.

Martin Gavet, of equal rights group Liberate, has lobbied the States over the issue and said the timescale might disappoint some people but it would take that long to amend other related legislation, such as tax law.

Liberate is also backing proposals to allow civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples.

Senator Gorst said they would develop a family policy statement by the end of 2015 "setting out what the States should seek to do to support families and marriage in all their forms."

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