Same-sex marriage in Guernsey

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Legal status of same-sex unions
Marriage
Performed
Recognized

* Not yet in effect, but automatic deadline set by judicial body for same-sex marriage to become legal

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The legal status of same-sex unions differs within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a Crown dependency of the United Kingdom. Same-sex marriage became legal in the jurisdiction of Guernsey on 2 May 2017, and in Alderney on 14 June 2018. Sark does not currently recognise same-sex unions.

Bailiwick of Guernsey British Crown dependency consisting of several islands

The Bailiwick of Guernsey is one of three Crown dependencies.

Crown dependencies Self-governing possessions of the British crown

The Crown dependencies are three island territories off the coast of Great Britain that are self-governing possessions of the Crown: the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Isle of Man. They do not form part of either the United Kingdom or the British Overseas Territories. Internationally, the dependencies are considered "territories for which the United Kingdom is responsible", rather than sovereign states. As a result, they are not member states of the Commonwealth of Nations. However, they do have relationships with the Commonwealth, the European Union, and other international organisations, and are members of the British–Irish Council. They have their own teams in the Commonwealth Games. They are not part of the European Union (EU), although they are within the EU's customs area. The Isle of Man is within the EU's VAT area.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Recognition of abroad civil partnership and same-sex marriage

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe1
Marriage
Civil union
Limited domestic recognition (cohabitation)
Limited foreign recognition (residency rights)
Unrecognized
Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples
1 May include recent laws or court decisions that have not yet entered into effect.
v
t
e Same-sex marriage map Europe detailed.svg
Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe¹
  Marriage
  Civil union
  Limited domestic recognition (cohabitation)
  Limited foreign recognition (residency rights)
  Unrecognized
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples
¹ May include recent laws or court decisions that have not yet entered into effect.

In Guernsey, civil partnerships performed in the United Kingdom and other relationships treated as such by UK law have been recognised for succession purposes in inheritance and other matters respecting interests in property since 2 April 2012, after approval of a bill allowing such recognition by the States of Guernsey on 29 June 2011. It received royal assent in the Privy Council on 16 November and was registered in the records of the island on 5 December 2011. [1] [2]

A civil union is a legally recognized arrangement similar to marriage, created primarily as a means to provide recognition in law for same-sex couples. Civil unions grant most or all of the rights of marriage except the title itself. Around the world, developed democracies began establishing civil unions in the late 1990s, often developing them from less formal domestic partnerships, which grant only some of the rights of marriage. In the majority of countries that established these unions in laws, they have since been either supplemented or replaced by same-sex marriage. Civil unions are viewed by LGBT rights campaigners as a "first step" towards establishing same-sex marriage, as civil unions are viewed by supporters of LGBT rights as a "separate but equal" or "second class" status. While civil unions are often established for both opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples, in a number of countries they are available to same-sex couples only.

Civil partnerships in the United Kingdom are a form of civil union granted under the Civil Partnership Act 2004, allowing same-sex couples to obtain essentially the same rights and responsibilities as civil marriage. Civil partners are entitled to the same property rights as married couples, the same exemption as married couples on inheritance tax, social security and pension benefits, and also the ability to obtain parental responsibility for a partner's children, as well as responsibility for reasonable maintenance of one's partner and their children, tenancy rights, full life insurance recognition, next of kin rights in hospitals, and others. There is a formal process for dissolving partnerships akin to divorce.

States of Guernsey parliament of the British Crown dependency of Guernsey

The States of Guernsey is the parliament of the British Crown dependency of Guernsey. Some laws and ordinances approved by the States of Guernsey also apply to Alderney and Sark as "Bailiwick-wide legislation" with the consent of the governments of those islands. All enactments of the States of Guernsey apply to Herm as well as Guernsey, since Herm is wholly owned by the States of Guernsey.

On 10 December 2015, the States approved an ordinance to recognise same-sex marriages and civil partnerships performed abroad for the purposes of the Income Tax (Guernsey) Law, 1975. It took effect on 1 January 2017. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] On the same day, the States directed the preparation of legislation to amend the Inheritance (Guernsey) Law, 2011 to recognise foreign same-sex marriages for its purposes. [5] [8] A bill to this effect was submitted on 22 January 2016, and was approved by the States on 2 March. [9] [10] [11] It received royal assent in the Privy Council on 4 May and took effect upon registration in the records of the island on 16 May 2016. [12]

On 17 June 2015, the States of Alderney unanimously approved the Inheritance (Alderney) Law, 2015, which include provisions to recognise same-sex marriages and civil partnerships performed abroad for its purposes. [13] [14] It received royal assent in the Privy Council on 8 October, was registered in the records of the island on 9 November 2015, and took effect on 1 January 2016. [15] [16] [17]

States of Alderney parliament/council and the legislature of Alderney

The States of Alderney is the parliament/council and the legislature of Alderney, part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. The origin of the States is unknown, but has operated from the mediaeval period. The States of Alderney comprises ten Members, and a President of the States of Alderney, currently Stuart Trought who was elected in 2010 to replace Sir Norman Browse who retired after eight years of presidency.

Same-sex marriage

Guernsey

In January 2014, it was announced that within the next twelve months deputies would debate whether to accept a state-recognised civil union proposal. [18] The proposed law, titled Union Civile, was said to be "the most forward-looking marriage law" in the world. The measure would have ended state-sanctioned marriages of any couple and instead replaced it with Union Civile. [19] A consultation on the proposed Union Civile law began on 1 June 2015 and lasted until 13 July 2015. [20] [21] [22] [23] The proposed law would not apply to the entire Bailiwick, but just to the islands of Guernsey, Herm, Jethou and Lihou. [24] On 14 July 2015, the results of the consultation indicated that over 1,600 responses had been filed, with the majority supporting the introduction of a same-sex marriage law rather than a partnership law. [25]

Herm island which is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey in the Channel Islands

Herm is one of the Channel Islands and part of the Parish of St Peter Port in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. It is located in the English Channel, north-west of France and south of England. It is 2.183 kilometres (1.4 mi) long and under .873 kilometres (0.5 mi) wide; orientated north-south, with several stretches of sand along its northern coast. The much larger island of Guernsey lies to the west and Jersey to the south-east, and the smaller island of Jethou is just off the south-west coast.

Jethou Island in Guernsey

Jethou is a small island that is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. It is privately leased, and not open to the public. Resembling the top of a wooded knoll it is immediately south of Herm and covers approximately 44 acres (18 ha).

Lihou A small tidal island, on the west coast of Guernsey, Channel Islands

Lihou is a small tidal island located just off the west coast of the island of Guernsey, in the English Channel, between Great Britain and France. Administratively, Lihou forms part of the Parish of St. Peter's in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, and is now owned by the parliament of Guernsey, although there have been a number of owners in the past. Since 2006, the island has been jointly managed by the Guernsey Environment Department and the Lihou Charitable Trust. In the past the island was used by locals for the collection of seaweed for use as a fertiliser, but today Lihou is mainly used for tourism, including school trips. Lihou is also an important centre for conservation, forming part of a Ramsar wetland site for the preservation of rare birds and plants as well as historic ruins of a priory and a farmhouse.

On 30 October 2015, the Policy Council of Guernsey dropped the Union Civile plans and released a report asking the States to agree on introducing a same-sex marriage law and to direct the preparation of legislation to implement it at its meeting on 9 December 2015. [26] [27] The States approved the proposal on 10 December 2015, in a 37–7 vote. Amendments to introduce civil partnerships or Union Civile rather than same-sex marriage were rejected. [28] [29] [30] [31]

Policy Council of Guernsey

Guernsey operates a system of government by committees and consensus. There are no political parties - members of the parliament, which is known as the States of Deliberation, are elected as independents. The States of Deliberation is both parliament and executive, but it delegates some of its executive functions to policy-specific committees, which are known as States Departments, each of which is run by five political members, all of whom have equal voting power.

10 December 2015 vote in the States of Guernsey [31]
Voted forVoted againstAbsent (Did not vote)
a. Both deputies are appointed by the States of Alderney.

In February 2016, a working group, which consisted of Chief Minister Jonathan Le Tocq and deputies Elis Bebb and Chris Green, was established in order to prepare a draft bill. [32] [33] A same-sex marriage bill was approved by the States, in a 33-5 vote, on 21 September. [34] [35] [36] [37]

21 September 2016 vote in the States of Guernsey [38]
Voted forVoted againstAbsent (Did not vote)
a. Both deputies are appointed by the States of Alderney.

The Same-Sex Marriage (Guernsey) Law, 2016 received royal assent in the Privy Council on 14 December 2016. [39] It was registered in the records of the island on 16 January 2017. [40] On 21 February 2017, the Government announced that the law would take effect on 2 May, if the ordinances to commence it and make the necessary changes to other laws are approved by the States at its meeting on 26 April. [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] On 26 April, the States approved both ordinances, and the law took effect on 2 May 2017. [46] [47] [48] [49] [50] It applies to the jurisdiction of Guernsey, but not to Alderney and Sark. [40]

Alderney

Alderney, one of the three constituent Channel Islands which form the Bailiwick of Guernsey, has full autonomy in most legal matters (except foreign affairs and other powers that have been transferred to the States of Guernsey), through the States of Alderney. Same-sex marriage is legal in Alderney.

On 21 February 2017, the States of Alderney's Policy and Finance Committee (PFC) approved the Chief Executive's proposal to draft a bill to allow same-sex marriage on Alderney. [51]

LGBT rights advocacy group Liberate estimated the entire process of legalisation could take 12 months. [52] On 16 May, the PFC agreed to bring forward the proposed Same Sex Marriage (Alderney) Law, 2017 to a meeting of the full States, on a date to be determined later. [53] On 18 July 2017, the PFC noted the draft law was at an advanced stage, but that consequential amendments to other legislation was required before the bill could be presented to the States of Alderney. [54] On 12 September 2017, the PFC unanimously approved the bill. [55] [56] [57] The bill was approved by the States of Alderney on 18 October 2017, by a vote of 9 to 0 with one abstention. [58] [59] [60] The bill received royal assent in the Privy Council on 13 December 2017 and was registered in the records of the island on 15 January 2018. [61] [62] [63] On 13 June, the States approved the ordinances to commence the law and make necessary changes to other laws, all of which came into effect on 14 June 2018. [64] [65] [66] [67] The first same-sex marriage was performed on 16 June 2018 in Platte Saline. [68] [69]

Sark

Sark is a constituent Channel Island which forms part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. It has legislative autonomy and legislation passed by the States of Guernsey do not apply to Sark without approval of the Chief Pleas, as a result same-sex marriages are not performed on Sark. [70] On 2 October 2019, the Chief Pleas approved a proposition directing the Policy and Finance Committee to instruct the Law Officers to draft legislation to legalise same-sex marriage on the island. [71] [72] [73]

See also

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