A State meeting was held on Wednesday 18 October in Alderney – an island in the English Channel – to hold a vote for Marriage Equality.
Nine out of ten members voted ‘Yes’, with only one choosing to abstain.
Vice President Ian Tugby claimed he intended to vote yes, but chose to abstain due to receiving messages from his residents saying they were concerned for the impact on their children.
This overwhelming majority voted yes, resulting in same-sex couples now having the right to marry in Alderney.
Alderney is a small Channel Island, with a population of just 2,000 people.
The Channel Islands are not technically a part of the UK, located off the coast of Normandy, France. However, the UK is responsible for their military defence, as well as their international relations, given their size.
As a result of this separation, the UK’s decision to grant Marriage Equality back in 2014 wasn’t applicable to the Channel Islands.
Marriage Equality has been on the agenda for other Channel Islands, too. Guernsey legalised same-sex marriage back in 2016, and Jersey made the proposal to change the law back in 2015, and is set to be approved next month.
The Chairman of Alderney’s Policy and Finance committee James Dent stated: “There are people who wish to take immediate advantage of this law when it comes into force and I wish them the best for the future.”
Following the constitution, the law must be approved by the Queen and her Privy Council before being officially passed, allowing the first ceremonies to take place.
A gay couple, Dits Preece and Alan Jones, witnessed the decision being made from the public gallery and have vowed to be the first same-sex couple to marry in Alderney.
They have been together 15 years, choosing not to marry until they could get married at home in Alderney.
May it be the first of many.
Words Jamie Dixon