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13 November 2014

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You are in: Jersey > Inside the States > Other Business > Issues > Civil Partnerships in Jersey?

Two grooms on wedding cake

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.

Man placing ring on finger

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:

  • Social Security
  • Pension and inheritance benefits
  • Next of kin visiting rights in hospital
  • Adoption

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.

St. Clement Church

Other European countries that award civil rights to same-sex couples (not necessarily the full rights recognised to married couples) include:

  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Luxembourg
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • Sweden

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.

Europride march

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
created: 15/12/2005

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

JM
Can a hetrosexuals form a civil partnership in the uk? if not, why not, a legal partnership alternative to the outmoded institution of marriage is overdue.

Philippe Nicol
I think that gay couples should be allowed to do what they want, but I disagree with gay people being able to abopt

Paul P
I think people need to look at this as more of a civil right's issue than something which can "turn their stomach". If we replace marriage with the word 'rights', would people still be saying it sickens then for gays and lesbians to have rights? Surely, some would see their views change. I feel it's a mixture of ignorance and antiquated views which will prevent this law passing. Truly, I hope it does pass. But the idea of two men or women holding hands before one another, declaring undying love and wanting equal rights does not suggest a major revolution, but just a small turning of Jersey towards a bright. No one would dare say that blacks do not deserve rights. So why dare say that gays and lesbians do not? It's bigoted, naive and frankly embarrassing for Jersey's image. We've had enough bad press and I think the beauty of the island may make it a viable place for partnerships to occur.

Kel
I've tried to log on to sign the online petition and the civilpartnershipjersey.co.uk site is coming up not found - anyone know why??

Michael
Ashley F - trust me, it does not help win votes in an election - I should know!Bernard - the Dean does not run the island. I believe he is in charge of the church. Please remember that these are seperate things! And do I presume that you would expect him to be against it? I somehow doubt if he is as short sighted on the matter as many others are. He is a very intelligent man!

Bernard Bigginton
I would be very interested to know what the Dean has to say about it.

Jon Stasiak Perchard
We pay taxes just like everyone else, so why shouldn't we be able to get married just like everyone else???

JerseyLee
It is about time Jersey and it's people woke up. It is 2009 , and people must accept gays for who they are. It is about time we had the same laws as everywhere else. Why shouldn't we get the same benefits/rights as heterosexuals???Come on Jersey, WAKE UP

Owen
Will civil partnerships in Jersey ever happen? I doubt it. That is unless there is pressure from an external source (ie the European Court of Human Rights in the lowering of the homosexual age of consent a few years back.)

Sadly this is one of the many things which represents what's wrong with the Island. It's effectively run by an Old Boys' Club, which is totally unrepresentative of the population. What is does represent, however, is (mostly) the older generation of the island; the ones who remembered Jersey in the good ol' days, eh ma cock? By running the Island for this group and their opinions (which I doubt will ever change) they are alienating the younger, more liberal population.

As mentioned below, most of the Island's graduates never return. Is it any wonder? Poor job prospects for anyone with a degree outside of finance or law, ridiculously high house prices, and a corrupted government do it no favours. The States my have paid the thick end of £100,000 for me to do my medical degree, but will I return? No. Not until a) I'll gain the breadth of experience in my career that the UK (and other places) can offer. b) I can afford to live in Jersey. and c) When I can be afforded the same rights as many other places around the world.

So is it in the States' interests to alienate the younger (especially those born locally) population? I can't think of a single suggestion that would suggest it is. After all it is the young people who pay the taxes, work in, and effectively make the island what it is. To those who don't agree with it: CPs won't effect you. Just like gay people (myself included) don't let your opinions effect our lives.

Just live and let live.

Andrew
I have just read the comments in this thread and it makes me feel so sad there are so many ingnorant idiots out there. Every human being has the right to enjoy the same rights as the next man. And to suggest that it would be difficult to explain two people of the same sex kissing to your child! I would suggest that you ask you kiddies for guidance. I can assure you that they are totally comfortable with gay people and it is only when the biggotted views of their parents are implanted that problems start to arise. As Martin says Jersey should make the bold step and allow all to marry. But I disagree that they should be able to discriminate on any level.

Troy
It's funny how the only arguments against the adoption of human rights are based on statements like 'It's disgusting', 'It turns my stomach', 'Yuck', 'They're a minority'... Extend these arguments a little: Marmite could garner similar response, should it be illegal? The late 80's Ford Scorpio, ban it? Sea travel?Those who seek to prevent the adoption of human rights, but who can't even give a decent argument as to why shouldn't even take part in the debate... which leaves a pretty much 100% pro stance.***Regarding 'famous' Jersey couples who are gay; Didn't Sen.Ozouf, now Minister and very possibly future Chief Minister come out as gay during the States debate on the homosexual age of consent?

Julie Vibert
I thik that it is a very important Act to bring into Jersey. We should follow along the same lines as the UK and same sex couples should be aloud to get married to show their love for one another as male and female do. It is a discrimination otherwise. Those of the same sex who do wish to get married like myself have to go to the UK and there is a big process to go through as you have to spend 7 consecutive nights in the UK to sign papers then get married. Then draw up futher legal documentation in Jersey to reflect the marriage. Myself and my partner are getting married this year in England and there is a lot to sort out. If it becomes Law over here then it would save a lot of time and money for ourselves and family and friends.

Ashley F
There's that age old saying:- gay people have teh right to be as unhappy as everyone else, so let them get married. Seriously though. Who cares? They should be able to do whatever they want to and should be afforded the same rights too. It's mental to suggest otherwise. Sure it'll be a nice little vote earner for some despo states member. . . . .

KM
Brnads, you're quite right. You're not a homophobe. You're an idiot.

Martin
Civil Partnerships are a pointless half way house - Jersey should be bold for once, stop this pointless out of date discrimination and make marriage available to everyone.

Fine - allow churches to decide WHO they marry and allow them to discriminate but make sure marriage services (like those in a registry office for straight couples) are available with similar vows to same sex couples as well.

Either that or get rid of marriage outside of religion and just have civil partnerships for all.

JM
Some people seem to be confused as to the legal status of Civil Partners in the UK - A Civil partnership is Marriage in all but name, the Civil Partners gain ALL the same legal rights as a married couple - they are 'married' just by a different name due to politicians not wanting to rock the boat.

The two differences are that people felt more comfortable and felt it would keep religious groups happier if the term 'Civil Partnership' was used in place of 'Marriage' in the Civil Partnership (2004) Act and that in the Legislation creating CP's instead of being 'Spouses' the persons are 'Partners' - the changes in terms are effectively superficial and do not affect the legal rights created by the act.

Whether you believe Civil Partnerships should happen is a personal opinion but the comments along the lines of 'non-married couple should be able to have some form civil partnerships' should check the facts - In the UK Civil Partners share the SAME legal rights as Married couples (also creates the same obligations if there were any adopted kids or aliment to the other dependent partner) - the comments seem to suggest that there is a material difference between 'Marriage' and 'Partnership' when legally it is a difference in names and terms and not in rights or obligations.

In fact under UK Law (Both Scots and Eng) Un-married hetrosexual couples 'Cohabiting' have far more legal rights and protections that cohabiting homosexual couples so again regardless of your opinion on civil partnerships at least base your opinion in fact!

Just as an aside at the moment while many European countries recognise Civil Partnerships granting exactly the same legal rights to Marriages and Civil Partners only Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands and Spain have done this under the name 'Marriage.'

Marley
love is love. no matter who its between.

Elle
Straight off the bat... civil partnerships should ONLY be legal valid if consumated! Otherwise they are being given preferential treatment to married couples! Hardly fair!

Julie Seymour
"clare maxwellAPSOLUTELY!! Homosexual partners shoud have EXACTLY the same rights as Hetrosexual partners...We are all the same!!

"Clare, unmarried hetrosexual couples will have less rights than unmarried gay couples linked in a civil partnership. If we're all the same, then ALL those who are not legally married in a legal Church wedding should remain in the same boat, straight or gay.

"micky (ex jersey now manchester)Ive moved from jersey to live in the uk. Being openly gay is very frowned at there, there are no gay pubs/clubs or anything for gay people. i even found one place on a recent family visit that has signs up on the walls stating that anyman kissing another man will be evicted from the place! this sort of behaviour is bigoted and certainly homophobic from my point

"Micky, I hate to have to tell you this, but the club in question was The Cosmopolitan - a gay club. They have just been refurbished, and have recieved a large amount of positive press and promotion in the local media.Look up the word bigot in the dictionary, and ironcially you seem to fit the criteria pretty well. It work's both ways you know.

JCP
"The States of Jersey, if they fail to introduce the Civil Partnership Act will face great pressure from the UK."Which is unacceptable. Jersey is not a part of the UK and has self-government. The decision on matters of Jersey law should be Jersey's alone. The UK having passed a law is no reason for Jersey to do so and pressure from the UK should be resisted on principle. Whatever the merits or demerits of civil partnership laws, the decision must be Jersey's alone.

Jon Lyon
Hey everyone - come to www.civilpartnershipjersey.co.uk and sign our petition to bring in Civil Partnership in Jersey. Thank you for your support.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

micky (ex jersey now manchester)
Ive moved from jersey to live in the uk. its not that long since being gay was made legal on the island. Being openly gay is very frowned at there, there are no gay pubs/clubs or anything for gay people. i even found one place on a recent family visit that has signs up on the walls stating that anyman kissing another man will be evicted from the place! this sort of behaviour is bigoted and certainly homophobic from my point. when i returned home to manchester i relised how lucky i actually am having moved away from a place which is not far from a police state. As for a man marrying a man in jersey? No chance. at least not until some younger politicans come up through the states and owst the narrow minded old fuddy duddies who are still running the island after centuries of rule.

JSPAGSP
We now live in th UK and have now committed to each other in the way of Civil Partnership. The Island complains when students leave the island and dont come back....well if CP was available in the island...we would be back in an instant. (also a pride parade along victoria avenue wouldn't be a bad idea - maybe in about 50 years)

INNBACK JILL
WELL SAID JACK U TEELL EM!!!

jockdd
so senator wendy kinnard mean that like the age of concent for gay and civil partener will not happen for an other 20 year

maryland-cookie
MMMM,come on honey child. Live an let live, just let the sunshine in!!!

Martin Lundy
Absolutely ! Jersey would benefit greatly from increased gay toursim by letting the World know that it is a modern, accepting Island and that it's folk are proud to be seen as such.

outback jack
Hold fast Jersey, don't let another minority group win out again just for the sake of political correctness.

GTR
ONE MUST FIRST LEARN TO SPELL PROPERLY BEFORE HAVING A DEBATE ABOUT "REALLY -HI,S".

clare maxwell
APSOLUTELY!! Homosexual partners shoud have EXACTL the same rights as Hetrosexual partners...We are all the same!! whatever u prefer sexually doesnt make u any different to the many men who are married to women..infact they are more honest open and truthful to themselves and others than many hetrosexual biggots!! Its a disgrace that they arnt allowed to have "lawful" sexual encounters before the age of 18..many hetrosexual girls i know have had sex way before that age and are pregnant relying on state help..these men do not!! GIVE US A BREAK!! Its rediculous

michael
bloody rubish jersey should refuse

"CLINT WESTWOOD"
LISTEN PUNKS. ARE YOU FEELING LUCKY??? WELL I AM LOVE.IM THE LUCKY "COWBOY" THAT WANTS TO TAKE THE BULL BY THE HORNS AND MARCH OUT WITH MY PINK FLOAT I WILL RISE TO THE CHALLENGE PUT ON MY PINK "BOOTIES" AND PARADE WITH PRIDE!!!!!

Flash
One possibility for George to marry Zippy & Bungle is one of the clubs in St.Helier. There used to be a place close to the waterfront where there was a TS/TV night weekends. For sure, the local LGB community must have been there,too. Does anyone know if this is still ongoing, or is there anywhere better?

JESS
ALL PEOPLE WERE CREATED EQUAL THAT INCLUDES GAY PEOPLE AND THEY SHOULD HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS ANY OTHER COUPLE HAVE ITS ONLY FAIR.

Wladislav
To "ZIPPY & BUNGLE" : I have just investigated on internet who you are.Very interesting. Was the Registrar of Wedding ceremony pink hippo called "GEORGE?"

Brands
Roderick, you point out Elizabeth Castle - yup, it's better than the Fort. My personal favourite would have to be Portelet Bay.The different wedding parties would go on to the islet just before the tide rises, spend the ceremony there, then return as the tide recedes - can anyone think of anything better?

"ZIPPY & BUNGLE"
"WHAT A WONDERFULL IDEA" FLASH,A RAINBOW FLOAT "WOW" UP ABOVE THE STREETS AND HOUSES,AT LAST WE GET TO SING OUR SONG UHHHH! "A PINK FLOAT? IM ALL FOR THAT.WOULD I RISK IT FOR A BISCUIT? "CERTAINLY" GOD BLESS EVERYONE WHOEVER THEY ARE, PAINT THE WHOLE WORLD WITH A RAINBOW!!!

Roderick
To Wladislaw : interesting suggestion - you can always suggest to Flash to film it on his videocamera then sell it to Channel as the first televised gay wedding in Jersey...humm, I personally think that Elizabeth castle would constitute a more romantic setting than Fort Regent. Tell me, chum, where is the honeymoon going to be held?

mary
i don't think, flash, that the point is that homosexuals want to run round the streets shouting that they are gay and marching up and down the avenue with a rainbow coloured float. the point is that they shouldn't be forced to hide it away from the public eye like some people on this message board are saying.

Wladislaw
Do any people know famous gay Jersey couple who want to marry? Perhaps Mr.Toshiro and Terry in special televised ceremony at Fort Regent?

Flash
Folks, Here's yet another suggestion : a rainbow float in the Battle of Flowers..err, anyone have the guts to do it...perhaps all of the pro-gay lobby would like to do it?...Come on Zippy & Bungle...you know you want to! My role will be to film the whole thing for posterity with my videocamera..I'll be like Bez was for the Happy Mondays!

Brands
Justine, I only used Canal St as an example of a gay-friendly area - I didn't want to throw you in the ghetto.If anything, I'm sure that the pink community in Manchester would not think of the area as a ghetto, not least becuase it has been redeveloped and modernised over the years. Like many other central parts of Manchester, it has become popular with trendy urban folk.

You also point out that you pay high taxes - it's an interesting point to stress because some cynics believe that the govt might have an ulterior motive in bring about the Civil Partnerships,i.e. they may actually gain financial capital by getting gays to pay more taxes. I personally don't know very much about this, so I shall leave other contributors to expand on that particular point.

Wladislav has suggested the possibility of Civil Partnerships for hetero people,too. I wonder if this could be extended to people who are cohabitating but are not in a relationship, such as two siblings living together in which one cares for the other? Here in the UK this point has been raised by some, albeit without impressing upon the government.

JUSTINE
BRANDS. I LEAD MY LIFE THE SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE, GAY OR STRAIGHT. I WORK HARD AND PAY MY (VERY HIGH) TAXES. IF I AM TO BE TREATED THE SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE IN THESE RESPECTS, THEN I DERSERVE TO HAVE EQUALITY IN EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE. AS TO PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION, I DO NOT FEEL IT NECESSARY TO FLAUNT WHAT I AM, AS I FEEL STRAIGHT PEOPLE DO NOT NEED TO DO THIS. WHAT I DO OBJECT TO IS BEING TOLD BY THE LIKES OF YOU,THAT I SHOULD ONLY SHOW WHAT I AM WHEN ON CANAL STREET. I WILL NOT BE OPPRESSED OR GHETTOISED. I AM AS MUCH A MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY AS YOU ARE, AND AS SUCH I HAVE A RIGHT TO A VOICE AND TO BE VISIBLE.

MR TOSHIRO
VERY UNATURAL THIS KIND OF THING,WHEN I BECAME OLD ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND SEXUAL RELATIONS THE MAN & MAN THING TURNED MY STOMACH INSIDE OUT. MAYBE IM A HOMEPHOBE,BUT IT JUST SEEMS QUITE DISCUSTING AND UNBELIEVABLE. IF LIKE SOME SAY IT,S NATURAL WHY FEEL THE NEED TO SHOUT ABOUT IT CONSTANTLY??? I DONT GO ROUND SHOUTING IM STRAIGHT CONSTANTLY. IF YOU WANT TO BE GAY THATS FINE,BUT AT LEAST BE DISCREET AND KEEP IT AWAY FROM SIGHT "YUCK".

Jayne W
There should be no distinction between hetero and homo couples. Two people in love should be able to express it through making a lifelong commitment in the eyes of the law - no matter what their sexual orientation is.

Wladislav
If Jersey government adopts Civil Partnership, will adopt similar law for hetero couples who are not married?

Flash
Here's another idea: how many of the folks who have contributed to this debate are married and have kids? And what do they think of this debate; about the legal rights of single sex couples? Also,is it possible to break States members into pro-gay and the not-so-pro-gay lobbies? Keep those opinions rolling in, folks -the ball's in your court!

mary
what i don't like is that you are all distinguishing between same-sex and heterosexual couples. if you, as you say, don't have a problem with homosexuals then treat them exactly the same. as long as you put gays on one side and straight couples on the other then you are creating a divide, and that is discrimination.

Brands
I wish to clarify to all who taken part in this interesting debate that I am not a homophobe.

Roderick
I think Mary is missing the point somewhat. The importance of discretion among homosexuals in public in relation to minors won't strengthen homophobia;if anything, I think gays can actually encounter less hostility if they are only open about their sexuality in gay areas. In relation to kids, I think it's primarily young kids who would feel confused by single-sex affection; children who are old enough to understand human sexuality better wouldn't feel that confused.

mary
brands I am disgusted at some of the things you say; you don't like the idea of explaining homosexuality to children. thats saying that there is something totally wrong with it. whats wrong with telling them that there are two people in love and they happen to be the same sex. surely its nice for children to see happy couples regardless of their sexual orientation. portraying to our children that there is something wrong with same sex couples is how people are brought up being prejudice and homophobic.

Flash
Perhaps we should have a poll on the BBC Jersey website and ask folks if they think local gays should be allowed to demonstrate their orientation in public?

brands
Justine,

Like yourself, I also left the island, albeit for different reasons.

Gay people like yourself have to understand that, in order to be respected, you have to be conspicuous - I don't like the idea of people having to explain homosexuality to their children if they witness public demonstrations of affection between homosexuals in public.

I personally don't mind seeing two men or women kissing each other public, as I am fully-developed and I have no misgivings as to my sexual orientation, but it is primarily minors that should not be exposed to this.

I do take your point that sometimes straight people often exaggerate in their public displays of affection, although, again, this does depend on one's own preferences.

When you say that you lead an indiscreet gay lifestyle in Manchester, I have nothing against that provided that you are "indiscreet" only in the gay areas, such as Canal St, for instance.

As a final reflection, I do acknowledge that Jersey has a reputation for being rather "square" in more ways than one...do you remember the Bergerac episode? - there was a gay man on it who left the island for exactly the same reason as yourself...as did a former school mate of mine,who now works as a TV presenter on the mainland after doing a stint for Channel!

Does anyone else want to add their opinion to this debate, folks?

justine
message to "brands". if heterosexuals don't have the "decency to be discreet", why should homosexuals.its because of ridiculous attitudes from people like you, that i left jersey twelve years ago. i now live a very happy "gay" and "indiscreet" life in manchester. love is love whoever it is between!

"DON LA RUE"
DONT KNOCK IT TILL YOU TRIED IT THATS MY VIEW. I STAYED IN THE CUPBOARD FOR YEARS AND IT WAS PRETTY UNCOMFORTABLE.THANKGOODNESS THINGS HAVE MOVED ON IM GAY AND PROUD!"SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW!!! "MY MAN,S MA GOLD" AHHHHH!!!!

Luke
The States of Jersey, if they fail to introduce the Civil Partnership Act will face great pressure from the UK. Jersey is already 7 years behind the UK in terms of the ECHR. Life should be just and tolerant. Civil Partnerships are just that. 'brands' this is nothing to do with discretion through choice, but forced discretion by the oppressed and single minded society Jersey operates on.

brands
Given the island's strong methodist traditions ( among others), I cannot see same-gender marriages occurring here. There must obviously be a homosexual community on the island but, unlike in the UK, over here they actually have the decency of being discreet. Accordingly, I cannot this this particular issue becoming a mainstream political topic - The States have bigger headaches with which to entertain themselves...

"ZIPPY & BUNGLE"
WE FINISHED RAINBOW AND WANT A WEDDING TO TIE A KNOT IN IT. THIS IS OUR DAY AND WE FOUND OUR POT OF GOLD.

chimpface
73% of homosexuals want recognition of their gay status. I am all for rainbow weddings. I think Terry is a sad man :(

Annabel
I cannot see how gay weddings have destroyed life in the UK, they have only just become law. Many of the people shown in the papers and on TV are older people who have lived together for years. Perhaps their relationships are more stable than old fashioned marriages - 50% divorce rate for people with children

Richard
I'd like to know why Terry thinks that. If he believes that gay people have an unwholesome influence on others, then he ought to say so. But that's a load of rubbish.

If he thinks that due to gay partnerships heterosexual people would rather not get married, then that's a load of rubbish too. Straight and gay people have been living together for some decades now.

I tend to think views based on prejudice should be challenged instead.

anon
Live and let live. You can't help who you love.Equality should not be denied. Wouldn't it be nice for Jersey to be a forerunner

terry
this is not right and its about time some one had the guts to say it. i live in the uk and it has destroyed life there in many aspects.

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