There will be no wasting time is the Isle of Man as a law giving same-sex couples the right to marry and opposite-sex couples the right to enter into a civil partnership has come into effect.
Queen Elizabeth II signed the legislation today, allowing same-sex couples to marry on the island from Friday (22 July).
The Marriage and Civil Partnership Amendment Act allows same-sex couples to marry in a civil ceremony or a religious premises as long as it is not of the Church of England, subject to agreement to the religious organization in question.
The law comes after Chief Minister Allan Bell revealed he had been in a relationship with another man for the past 21 years in October 2015.
‘Recognition of marriage for same sex couples in Manx law is a truly historic moment, showing just how far the Island has travelled over the past 30 years,’ he said.
‘It sends out a clear message that the Isle of Man today is a modern, open and inclusive society where equal rights are respected. I believe that the values of fairness and tolerance reflected in this legislation are shared by the overwhelming majority of our population.’
In the 1980s on the British crown dependency, homosexuality was still illegal and a campaign to decriminalize was met with bigotry from the Manx parliament. Gay sex was finally decriminalized in 1992.
Bell added: ‘Everyone who loves their partner, whether same-sex or otherwise, must have equal rights to share their lives. It’s a totally logical human right and human expectation that straight couples and gay couples should be able to enjoy life with the partner that they choose.’
England and Wales first introduced same-sex marriage in March 2014, with Scotland following in December of the same year. It is not available in Northern Ireland.
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