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Same sex marriage consultation document published

Thursday, 15 October 2015

The Cabinet Office has today published a consultation document on proposed legislation to allow marriage between same sex couples in the Isle of Man. The consultation was announced by Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK on October 2.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, based on legislation in place in England and Wales, enables same sex couples to marry in either a civil ceremony or, subject to the agreement of the organisation concerned, in a religious ceremony.

In a foreword to the document the Chief Minister observes that the world has moved further forward since the Island introduced the Civil Partnership Act in 2011.

He writes:

‘None of us could have imagined that less than five years later same sex couples would be able to marry in three out of the four nations of the United Kingdom; that the Republic of Ireland would have voted in a referendum for the introduction of legislation to allow same sex couples to marry; or that the US Supreme Court would have ruled in favour of same sex couples being able to marry in all of the 50 States of America.’

Mr Bell concludes:

‘I recognise that the proposed legislation to allow same sex couples to be married may generate strong and polarised views, with some organisations and individuals believing very strongly that marriage can only ever be between a man and a woman.

‘However, the time is right for this legislation to be introduced.  I believe that the values of fairness and tolerance are shared by the overwhelming majority of people in our Island and that allowing loving, committed couples of the same sex to be married in no way undermines the institution of marriage.

‘I look forward to receiving comments from the public and would encourage as many people as possible to respond to this consultation.’

The consultation document is available on the Government website at: www.gov.im/ConsultationDetail.gov?id=536 and the closing date for submissions is November 13, 2015.

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