Equality charities are rejoicing today after news that same-sex marriage has been approved in Jersey.
The States voted to pass the new marriage laws last night, 42 pour - 1 contre.
Earlier in the sitting, politicians also voted by 40 votes to 5 to reject a clause, which would have allowed traders to refuse to serve same-sex couples if it was deemed incompatible with their religious beliefs.
The law now has to go to Privy Council for Royal Assent. The charity claim this could take about three months and they expect to see same sex couples walking down the aisle in Jersey by early May 2018.
We live in a democracy and the fact that we are all free to speak is something to be cherished. The debate has been impressive in terms of the number and variety of people it has engaged and in the respect shown by all sides. What this proves is that our island is home to diverse groups and communities, who will not always agree on every issue, but that is what makes us stronger. It is vital that we can share our views and continue to do so, especially with people we don’t agree with, so that we can learn from each other. >
Liberate was gathering support to reject the 'tolerance clause' and achieved 5,237 signatures from countries all over the world, including Russia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Romania, the USA.
In a statement, the charity wrote they wished 'to thank the Chief Minister Ian Gorst and his team for their determination that this was the right thing to do for the island and their unwavering support throughout the process, even when things didn’t go to plan'.
Liberate does not want to see anybody taken to tribunal for their genuinely held religious beliefs. Our concern when the Scrutiny Panel lodged the amendment containing the tolerance clause was that it was unworkable in practice and would be highly divisive, resulting in more not fewer tribunal cases. We would much prefer to see an island where differing beliefs are accepted and respected – if we are kind to one another, nobody should ever end up in a tribunal.