The gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) has warmly welcomed the news that the Isle of Man is to introduce a law granting gay couples the right to a civil partnership.
Gay couples on the island will get the right to a civil partnership after a new law was signed in Tynwald, the Manx parliament. As in the rest of the UK, it gives them the same rights as married couples regarding inheritance, pensions and tax allowances. The law comes into effect on 6 April 2011.
The island has its own parliament and own laws, some of which are very different from those in the UK. Abortion laws are still much stricter, the birch used to be commonly used as a punishment, the death penalty was not abolished till 1993, and homosexuality was illegal until 1992. As a result, the island was subject to a boycott by UK trade unions, which had held a lot of conferences there.
Seventy-seven-year-old gay activist George Broadhead, who is the PTT’s secretary, said: “This is great news. As a Manxman myself who was born on the IOM in 1933 and realised I was gay at school in the 1940s, I know only too well what a frightful homophobic place it was – much of it stemming, as elsewhere, from religious bigotry.
“Activists on the island itself and the rest of the UK launched a campaign to get the law changed and I am proud to have played a part in this. I entered into a civil partnership in the UK in 2006 and I am delighted that my fellow Manx gays are now able to do the same.”