The little island of Jersey is set to see it’s biggest ever LGBTI event this weekend – a rally to demand same-sex marriage.
It comes after the island – which is part of the British Crown but has its own laws – delayed a decision to allow gay and lesbian marriage.
A poll by the Jersey Evening Post shows 81% of Jersey islanders support marriage equality.
But a vote to introduce it was delayed by Home Affairs Minister Ian Le Marquand who lodged a last-minute amendment, forcing the Chief Minister to conduct a ‘detailed study’. That study won’t finish until 31 December.
Chair of Liberate, the Channel Islands leading LGBTI campaign organization, Martin Gavet told GSN that decision had sparked widespread ‘anger and indignation’.
He said: ‘Jersey recently introduced its anti-discrimination law but it is having great difficulties over subjects like equal marriage. On the one hand it is saying it’s not going to discriminate against everyone but on the other hand they are delaying.
‘Le Marquand was the only person to vote against civil partnership [already available to same-sex couples in Jersey]. What he has done is basic political maneuvering and stalled the equal marriage debate.
‘The biggest motive behind it, I think, is the general election is coming up in October and politicians are trying to please the church.
‘But it has seriously backfired because it has caused a lot of indignation.’
Calls to Radio Jersey showed islanders believed the government was out of touch on the issue.
Now political party Reform Jersey hopes to show the strength of support for equality through the rally.
Expected to draw a 1,000-strong crowd or more – on an island with a total population of only 98,000 – it will be ‘without doubt the biggest pro-LGBTI rally’ there ever, says Gavet.
The island has not even had an LGBTI Pride in the past.
The event will start at noon tomorrow (12 July) in Royal Square, St Helier, processing to Liberation Square shortly afterwards. Details are here.
Meanwhile Liberate is asking people to sign its petition for equal rights across the Channel Islands.
The neighboring island of Guernsey, separately run, is also moving towards marriage equality – probably on the French model where marriages are granted by the state and separately blessed by religions if they desire to do so.