The debate on Equal Marriage in the States of Guernsey is under way. Watch this space to see how things unfold.
9:50am – The Policy Letter is being read in the States by Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq.
10:05am – Two amendments have been tabled by Deputies Adam and De Lisle. Deputy Adam’s amendment is to introduce Union Civile for all as an alternative to marriage. Deputy De Lisle’s amendment is to introduce same sex civil partnerships instead of equal marriage.
10:40am – Deputy De Lisle has been talking about how marriage should be between one man and one woman, but he has no problem with a civil partnership.
10:47am – Deputy Soulsby is speaking in favour of same sex marriage. She states that she has had a lot of messages, especially from younger members of our society in favour of same sex marriage.
10:53am – Deputy Green is speaking in support of the same sex marriage proposals. He says that marriage can only be strengthened by its extension to same sex couples. He is suggesting that there
will be problems with recognition of Union Civile in other countries. He says that civil partnerships do not provide for a single non-discriminatory system.
11:04am – Deputy St Pier is talking about the history of misinformation about and discrimination regarding homosexuality. He says the majority of the mail he has had against the proposals have focussed on the male sex act, whereas those in favour have focussed on relationships. He has reiterated that no church will be forced to take part in same sex marriage ceremonies and that allowing same sex marriages will not affect heterosexual marriages.
11:20am – Deputy Lester Queripel has said he believes in equal rights. He quotes from the law which says that men and women of marriagable age have the right to marry. But points out that it doesn’t specify heterosexual marriage.
11:29am – Deputy Sillars is correcting the view that some people’s jobs will be under threat if they don’t agree with same sex marriage, for instance teachers. He says the Procureur has advised the States not to go down the route of Union Civile. Non consumation and adultery should be discussed by the States at a later date.
11:36am – Deputy Conder is talking about the advertisement by the Coalition for Marriage in the Guernsey Press. He’s asked who owns the term “marriage”. Different religions have historically had different definitions of marriage, including polygamy.
11:44am – Deputy Stewart has pointed out that today is International Human Rights Day. He says we should be seen as a modern democracy that respects the rights of its citizens without discrimination. He hopes we bring this to a swift conclusion in terms of time taken to draft the law.
11:50am – Deputy Sherbourne is talking about equality and inclusion. He says voting for same sex marriage is the right thing to do.
11:55am – Deputy Laurie Queripel is talking about the so called “gay manifesto”. He says there are extremes in all walks of life. He does not believe in condemnation of people’s lifestyles, but tends to the idea that marriage is between a man and a woman. He also understands the argument for equality. He supports the De Lisle amendment.
12:02pm – Deputy Domaille says he is uncomfortable with the proposals for same sex marriage. However he says it is not for him to deny others the right to marriage.
12:07pm – Deputy Gillson says he supports the need for change and a form of same sex partnership. He says there is merit in supporting the amendment for civil partnerships as so many people are against using the word “marriage”. However, he feels that allowing same sex marriage would not undermine heterosexual marriages, and there is no reason why we should stop people of the same sex being able to describe themselves as married.
12:12pm – Deputy James says we should be asking for equality of opportunity and equality of access.
12:19pm – Deputy Parkinson will be voting against the amendments and in favour of the proposals for same sex marriage. He also says these proposals are not enough. We also need to introduce laws forbidding discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
12:22pm – Deputy Harwood has declared that he is a practising Christian, and a parent of a gay child. He says on balance he is in favour of the proposals for same sex marriage. He disagrees with the amendments. He says no particular group of people should own the definition of the word “marriage”. It is up to the States to define the word in the eyes of the law.
12:29pm – Deputy Luxon does not support the amendments and does support the same sex marriage proposals. He says we shouldn’t be frightened of Guernsey being ahead of the rest of the world.
12:32pm – Deputy Jean is talking about same sex couples adopting children. He voted against that at the time due to concerns over those children being exposed to bullying. However, he has since changed his mind due to public opinion. He will vote for the same sex marriage proposals and against the amendments.
12:37pm – Deputy Brehaut has said that the younger generation are more accepting. However, some people struggle with acceptance of gay people due to their upbringing, and should not be criticised for that.
12:42pm – Deputy Perrot has put forward the view that marriage is between a man and a woman. He says the concept of same sex marriage offends on several grounds. Marriage between a man and a woman is the correct family set up for bringing up a child. He thinks there will be problems in schools due to gradual proselytizing of homosexual relationships.
12:50pm – The States have now broken for lunch. Debate will resume at 2:30pm.
2:30pm – Deputy Le Lievre has bravely described his family situation where his father was gay but married a woman due to social pressures of the times. He says that approving same sex marriage today will not get rid of discrimination and bigotry, and we’ve only just scratched the surface.
2:35pm – Deputy Fallaize says that people should be able to disagree with the proposals without being labelled bigots. He has reiterated that the younger generation don’t see any problem with homosexuality. To them it is a non-issue. He agrees with the proposals and says that it will help to set society in a more tolerant and diverse context.
2:44pm – There is a discussion about the definition of the word “marriage”.
2:50pm – Deputy Dorey disagrees with the amendments. He doesn’t see the merit in proposition 3.
2:53pm – Deputy Gollop is talking about the debate that happened on civil partnerships back in 2006. He says we could have been ahead of the game in 2006, and are now behind the times in relation to the rest of the world. He will reject the amendments. He also says there is more to do to make marriage legislation more flexible and perhaps encourage wedding tourism.
3:04pm – Another deputy has declared that not approving the proposal would put Guernsey in an untenable position.
3:10pm – Deputy Bebb has listed the countries which have recently introduced same sex marriage. Legislation is also being drafted in other places including Jersey. Regarding Union Civile, he says this presents a problem of international recognition. Civil Partnerships require the introduction of a system which doesn’t exist in Guernsey law, and would therefore take a long time to introduce. The UK is trying to remove Civil Partnerships. Do we really want to introduce something which the UK and other countries are making obsolete? He has reiterated the need for further reform of Guernsey’s marriage laws regarding adultery, humanist marriages etc. We also do not have any legislation regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation.
3:30pm – Deputy Trott – “you know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams”.
3:33pm – Deputy De Lisle is responding to comments on his amendment.
3:46pm – Deputy Adam is responding to comments on his amendment.
3:51pm – Deputy Langlois is summing up for Deputy Le Tocq in his absence. He has said that personally he will not be supporting the amendments. He’s talked about tolerance, equality and freedom of speech. He has said that this is the right thing to do. It won’t be accepted by all but now is the right time to do it.
4:04pm – Voting on Deputy De Lisle’s amendment is under way.
4:07pm – Deputy De Lisle’s amendment has been defeated by 37 votes to 7. Voting on Deputy Adam’s amendment is under way.
4:11pm – Deputy Adam’s amendment has been defeated by 40 votes to 4. Voting on the original propositions is now under way.
4:12pm – Propositions 1 & 2 are now being voted on – the introduction of same sex marriage and the drawing up of the relevant legislation.
4:14pm – Propositions 1 & 2 have been approved by 37 votes to 7.
4:15pm – Proposition 3 voting is under way – regarding monitoring of union civile legislation elsewhere.
4:18pm – Proposition 3 has been approved by 22 votes to 21.
4:20pm – Proposition 4 voting is under way – regarding dissolution of marriage.
4:22pm – Proposition 4 has been passed by 37 votes to 6.