Final implementation of the Marriage and Civil Partnership Amendment Act has been welcomed by Chief Minister Allan Bell CBE MHK, who described the move as an ‘historic moment’ for the Island.
The Act enables same sex couples to marry either in a civil ceremony, in a register office or approved premises, or in religious premises (except those of the Church of England) subject to the agreement of the religious organisation in question.
The legislation also makes the Isle of Man the first place in the British Isles to allow opposite sex couples to enter into civil partnerships as an alternative to marriage. Civil partnerships have been available to same sex couples in the Isle of Man since 2011.
Mr Bell commented:
‘Recognition of marriage for same sex couples in Manx law is a truly historic moment, showing just how far the Island has travelled over the past 30 years. It sends out a clear message that the Isle of Man today is a modern, open and inclusive society where equal rights are respected. I believe that the values of fairness and tolerance reflected in this legislation are shared by the overwhelming majority of our population.’
The Marriage and Civil Partnership Amendment Act takes effect from July 22 under an appointed day order made after Royal Assent was announced in Tynwald. The appointed day order is not subject to Tynwald approval.
There will also be some consequential secondary legislation on a supplementary order paper at this sitting of Tynwald, relating to fees, social security and pension schemes.
It will be possible for same sex couples to convert their civil partnerships into marriages free of charge, if this is done under the standard procedure in a registrar’s office before November 1 this year.