The Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel has today lodged a set of amendments to the Draft Marriage and Civil Status (Amendment No.4) (Jersey) Law.
The principles of the Draft Law, which include the introduction of same-sex marriage in Jersey, as well as the introduction of open-air weddings, were approved by the States Assembly in November 2017. Since then, the Panel has been undertaking legislative review of the detail of the law.
The key themes emerging from the review which the Panel has lodged amendments around include:
- Accreditation for civil marriage celebrants
- Protections for buildings owned by religious groups
- A limited and narrowly defined "tolerance" clause
- Use of religious material in civil marriage ceremonies
The opportunity has also been taken to improve the clarity of the Draft Law in certain places and correct typographical errors.
The Draft Law is due to be debated by the States Assembly on 30th January 2018 and the Panel will publish its full report on all aspects of the review before that date.
Deputy John Le Fondré, Chairman of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel, said:
"Our amendments to the draft law are based on issues and concerns that we encountered during our review.
We are lodging 7 amendments for States Members to consider. These range from corrections for typographical errors, to enhancements to the process for registering as a civil celebrant, to protections for religious buildings to correct anomalies that we identified in the Draft Law, and a narrowly defined tolerance clause.
The dilemma facing the Panel has been the balance between the rights of people to enjoy a family life and the rights of people to live by their religious conviction. This has been a difficult area and we have received a lot of submissions on the matter from members of the public and organisations."