Gay couples from the Isle of Man will soon be able to undertake a civil partnership agreement on the island as a new law has been signed in Tynwald, the Parliament of the Isle of Man.
From 6th April 2011, Manx homosexual couples, within a civil partnership, will have the same rights regarding inheritance, pensions and tax allowances as married couples.
Homosexuality was only decriminalised on the Isle of Man in 1992 and gay rights campaigners have long championed a change in the law regarding legal partnerships. Many now state that, finally, the Island has ended its legal discrimination against same-sex couples.
Allan Bell, MHK, Minister for Economic Development, said that the 20-year battle to end the inequity had “been an extremely difficult time for gay people wishing to have open, loving caring relationships”.
However, the passing of the bill was not without opposition.
Peter Murcott, a Methodist preacher on the island, said, “It will have a fundamental change in due course on how the next generation is brought up to conceive family life and, ultimately, it is going to introduce an anti-Christian attitude and it will be contrary to the beliefs of many other religions as well.”
Mr Bell commented, “Not everyone will feel comfortable with this legislation but it’s been a much easier debate than the fierce resistance we had 20 years ago when we first started this process.
“The gay community on the Isle of Man has been a repressed community on the island for many years.
“Today is a red letter day for the island and for those groups.”
It is likely to follow that gay islanders will need legal advice on pre-civil partnership agreements in order to protect their wealth and assets and, of course, in years to come, lawyers will be asked to act in civil-partnership dissolutions, which are the legal equivalent of a divorce.