Civil Partnerships in Jersey?
Over three years ago the Civil Partnership Act came into force in the UK granting same-sex couples similar rights to traditional married couples. Will Jersey afford same-sex relationships the same civil rights as marriage?
On the 5th of December 2005 the Civil Partnership Act came into force meaning that for the first time ever in the UK homosexual couples can claim the same rights as married couples.
Although civil partnerships stop just short of being a ‘gay marriage’ they are designed to be as close to a marriage contract as possible; although the process is purely a legal one and partners do not exchange spoken vows, from Wednesday 21 December it is legally permissible to have a ceremony.
During the civil partnership ceremony couples will sign an official document in front of the registrar and two witnesses.
Civil partnerships are available to same-sex couples if they have been together for a minimum of 2 months, unions must be registered at least 15 days before the intended partnership.
Unlike marriage, civil partnerships do not need to be consummated to be legally valid (so theoretically same-sex friends could enter into a civil partnership).
Benefits previously unavailable to same-sex couples that a civil partnership will allow include:
Civil partnerships who wish to separate must go through the same divorce process as heterosexual married couples.
Europe & Civil Partnerships
There are several countries within Europe that have recognised same-sex couples and given them similar rights to those of married couples for several years; Denmark became the first country to grant same-sex partners the same rights at married couples in 1989, although church weddings are not allowed.
In 2001 the Netherlands were the first country to offer same-sex partnerships full civil marriage rights.
Other European countries that award civil rights to same-sex couples (not necessarily the full rights recognised to married couples) include:
Jersey & Civil Partnerships
Now that the UK has introduced the Civil Partnership Act will Jersey follow suit? Do you think that we should?
As it stands at the moment same sex marriage and Civil Parternships are not recognised in Jersey.
The Marriage and Civil Status (Jersey) Law 2001 says a marriage will be declared void if the parties to the marriage are "not respectively male and female".
This means that a marriage ceremony entered into by individuals of the same-sex would have no legal force or effect in Jersey.
Jersey law makes no reference to the recognition of marriages or civil partnerships legally formed under laws of another jurisdiction.
There is no statutory mechanism in Jersey for civil partnerships whether heterosexual or homosexual.
However, Civil partnerships could be brought in later this year in Jersey, according to Constable Ken Vibert.
He headed up the Legislation Advisory Panel which has sent a report to the Council of Ministers.
It's recommended following the UK where civil partnerships mean same sex couples can get the same property, social security and pension benefits as married couples.
Constable Vibert says the Council of Ministers will now look how much it will cost.
last updated: 06/01/2009 at 18:00
Have Your Say
Jon Stasiak Perchard
micky (ex jersey now manchester)
"ZIPPY & BUNGLE"
"DON LA RUE"
"ZIPPY & BUNGLE"