1st July 2018

Same-sex marriage becomes legal

The States of Jersey voted in favour of same-sex marriage on 1 February 2018, and it took just five months for the change to receive royal assent and be entered into the statue books. Same-sex civil partnerships had already been legal since 2012.

However, the battle to legalise same-sex marriage had been a long one.

A lengthy campaign

The Jersey Reform Party had proposed the legislation as long ago as 2014. Although the proposal wasn’t backed immediately, the Assembly did vote in favour of the States carrying out a study on the matter, which was completed in late November of that year. The result was an ambitious commitment to make same-sex marriage legal by the end of 2017, in both civil and religious venues. This latter point notwithstanding, there would be an opt-out for ministers who preferred not to conduct such ceremonies.

Missed target

In the end, it wasn’t possible to implement such a fundamental change to the island’s existing marriage legislation in so short a time, and the States was still debating the matter a month before the original target implementation date. On the first day of February 2018, it was put to the vote. Of the 49 members of the States Assembly, 42 voted in favour, one against and one formally abstained. A further five didn’t vote.

Jersey’s first same-sex marriage took place at noon on 9 July 2018, when Neil Renouf and John Cronin were married by Claire Follain, Jersey’s superintendent registrar. Renouf and Cronin had by then been partners for 20 years.


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