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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Civil partnerships on the Isle of Man welcomed

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.”

2 comments:

Micky said...

And so, once again, the Tynwald and Manx public opinion is dragged kicking and screaming into modernising its laws.

I can remember some of those birching sentences and some of the magistrates who appeared to revel in handing down corporal punishment to boys and young men - including to tourists and seasonal workers from Glasgow particularly, it seemed.

Anyway - enough of that. Will my Civil Partner Pete and I be welcome as a couple now at guest houses and in pubs, restaurants and so on should we visit the island?

I know there are moves afoot for Europe-wide recognition of each nation's and territory'sCivil Partnerships and, presumably, of gay Marriages when those become legal in England.

Stuart Hartill said...

Hello Micky,

You'll be suprised to find how things have moved on here on the Rock. I'm one of those who tried to help the local gay community along, but not gay mysel so not in on the small detail, but I can say that only is there a well established gay bar in Douglas (Guys & Dolls, Walpole Avenue)but a couple of pubs elsewhere with out gay couples running them and no hassle from a straight clientele. Hotels etc., no longer a problem either. We even have out gay & lesbian coppers who the current Chief Constable is proud of.
All a long way from the 1980's when the Chief Constable was a protege of the infamous James Anderton, moved here to put him out of reach of a public inquiry sparked by the number of suicides following a police entrapment campaign in Manchester. When something similar happened here in 1990 it was the last straw before the UK pressure to sort ourselves out.
No, it ain't Brighton yet, but at least we've also got the sea and the sand.