Campaigners, politicians, and members of the public are celebrating a historic vote in the States of Guernsey, which on Wednesday finally approved the introduction of same-sex marriage by 33 votes to five. It makes Northern Ireland now the only part of the British Isles without marriage equality, following similar successful campaigns in Jersey and the Isle of Man.
The vote came just 11 days after the Channel Islands celebrated Pride.
A preliminary vote in December 2015 made today's move a near certainty but a second, free vote has secured a victory for equality campaigners. It comes over a year after Guernsey launched a public consultation into marriage for LGBT people, with 90% of respondents declaring support for "a non-discriminatory equitable system for the legal recognition of committed couples", and over 10 years since the States of Guernsey first agreed to consider same-sex marriage rights.
Unlike most of the rest of the British Isles, until now Guernsey did not have civil partnerships or any legal protections for same-sex couples.
Ellie Jones, vice chair of Liberate, the LGBTQ charity fighting for same-sex marriage in Guernsey, said: “We are ecstatic that Guernsey is now a more equal place to live and that the States have demonstrated their support for LGBTQ islanders, some of whom have waited a very long time to be able to get married."
Jones added: "We would like to thank all of those in the States and the wider community who have worked so hard to bring this about, and we wish luck to all whose who will be hearing wedding bells in 2017!”
The first weddings are set to take place in the middle of next year.