Guernsey marriage law 'most forward-looking in world'

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

Guernsey's proposed "Union Civile" law is one of the most forward-thinking pieces of marriage legislation in the world, says a gay rights campaigner.

Martin Gavet, chairman of the gay rights campaign group Liberate, was speaking after a meeting on Tuesday with Chief Minister Jonathan Le Tocq.

The meeting was friendly, frank and refreshing, said Mr Gavet.

The proposed Union Civile law would remove religious references from laws related to marriage.

"It's a really progressive law, probably one of the most forward-thinking pieces of legislation, in terms of marital legislation, in the world," said Mr Gavet.

"It is an official state piece of paper to say that you are married and if you have religious beliefs then you are free to celebrate that in a church or synagogue or wherever you choose to worship."

Gender in marriage

Liberate said it had secured a commitment to introduce the legislation in the current parliamentary term and said it would work with the States to inform the public during the consultation process.

Before Wednesday's meeting, Deputy Le Tocq, who is also a church leader, told BBC News he did not believe gender in marriage was a matter for government.

"The State doesn't need to define marriage in the way religious groups do," he said.

"That's why the new law we're proposing would create something different for the purposes in which the States would be interested.

"I'm a strong believer in the state and the church being separated."

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