Channel Islands gay rights movement gains momentum

Ringed male hands Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Proposed Guernsey law will see government recognise marriage irrespective of gender

A petition calling for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the Channel Islands has attracted more than 800 signatures.

Martin Gavet, of campaign group Liberate, said Guernsey and Jersey were years behind the UK.

He said Jersey should follow Guernsey's lead in addressing legal discrimination against LGBT people.

Mr Gavet said Guernsey is addressing some issues but progress is slower in Jersey.

Liberate will meet Guernsey's chief minister on 27 May.

"Our target is for both bailiwicks to introduce legislation which stops discrimination against LGBT people," said Mr Gavet.

"We seem to be very good at getting financial legislation in place but when it comes to social policy we always lag behind the UK."

Guernsey's equality working group is working on proposals for a "union civile" law, which would enable government to recognise various forms of partnership irrespective of gender.

Chief Minister Jonathan Le Tocq said he expected some opposition.

"It is quite a radical move compared to what Jersey has done but if we went for a civil partnership law it wouldn't be enough," he said.

"I'm the leader of a church as well, so I'm fully aware of how some people feel.

"Marriage is something mainly defined by religious communities and some of them will be happy to marry gay couples.

"Those that don't and want to maintain their traditional view will be able to do that as well."

Jersey currently recognises civil partnerships but has no equality law.

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