The final orders have been passed by the States of Jersey today that mean that from 1 July 2018 Jersey’s new marriage law is in effect.
Broadly, this means that –
- same sex couples can get married;
- transgender people can get married as their recognised gender without the need for a Gender Recognition Certificate (there is no ‘spousal veto’ in Jersey’s law);
- all couples may choose the location of their marriage and ask to have it approved, meaning couples may marry in their home or garden, on a beach or headland, or almost anywhere that has significance for them; and,
- recognised religious organisations have to opt-in to perform marriages (and associated services) for LGBT+ couples (meaning that clergy are not placed in the position of having to marry LGBT+ couples where their religious beliefs and/or religious organisation forbid it).
There are very few religious organisations that have opted-in so far. For same sex couples or couples where one partner is transgender and who would like a Christian service/blessing for their marriage, we advise speaking to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the United Reformed Church or the Methodist Church (although Methodist ministers cannot marry LGBT+ people in Methodist churches, many are prepared to do a blessing for the marriage away from church premises).
Alternatively, if you are looking for a marriage service without religious content, that can be spiritual and tailored to you, the Channel Islands Humanists would be happy to hear from LGBT+ couples.
There is still work to do to address amendments to the law that were not covered in the first wave of drafting around certain Church of England property anomalies, surrogacy, civil partnerships and adultery/divorce. Liberate will be keeping an eye on these issues over the coming months.
We will also be supportive of any moves by religious organisations to opt-in to performing LGBT+ marriages. We hope that those LGBT+ activists working inside religious organisations will see their allies grow, and soon their particular religious organisation will opt-in to performing what is, in essence, a celebration of the love and commitment by one person to another for the rest of their life.
It has been four years of campaining, consulting, educating, debating and legislating, some false starts and some delays, but you can now get out your hats and enjoy a 2018 summer marriage season in Jersey that is now, truly, open to all!