Guernsey is celebrating after a historic vote approved the introduction of same-sex marriage.
The island, a British Crown Dependency in the English Channel, joins fellow Channel Island Jersey in approving marriage equality after voters passed the new law by 33 votes to five.
Despite the vote coming just 11 days after the Channel Islands celebrated LGBT Pride, Guernsey has up until now offered no legal protections or civil partnerships of same-sex couples.
Ellie Jones, vice chair of LGBT charity Liberate, said: “We are ecstatic that Guernsey is now a more equal place to live and that the States have demonstrated their support for LGBTQ islanders, some of whom have waited a very long time to be able to get married.
“Given that 80-90% of the population responded in favour of marriage equality in the 2015 States consultation, we are proud that the result of the vote corresponded with the majority of islanders’ clearly expressed wishes.
“We would like to thank all of those in the States and the wider community who have worked so hard to bring this about, and we wish luck to all whose who will be hearing wedding bells in 2017!”
Today the States approved the Same-Sex marriage legislation. It will now go to UK for Royal Sanction & then return to the States in 2017. pic.twitter.com/8truHAeolt
— States of Guernsey (@Govgg) September 21, 2016
England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle Of Man all allow same-sex couples to legally marry, while Jersey has also approved proposals to introduce marriage equality alongside Guernsey.
Northern Ireland is now the only part of the British Isles to continue to outlaw same-sex marriages, despite claims from Amnesty International that 68% of the population are in favour of legalising it.
Several attempts to pass legislation have been blocked in the country – in November last year, the majority of Northern Ireland’s Assembly voted in favour of marriage equality, but the motion was scrapped as the Democratic Unionist Part filed a ‘petition of concern’.
Earlier this week, a petition by Belfast-based LGBT group Gay Say was delivered to Stormont with over 20,000 signatures calling for the legalisation of same-sex marriage.