LGBT rights in Guernsey

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LGBT rights in Guernsey
Same-sex sexual intercourse legal status Legal since 1983, age of consent equal since 2012
Gender identity/expression Transgender people can legally change gender
Military service UK military since 2000
Discrimination protections Yes, since 2004
Family rights
Recognition of
UK civil partnerships recognized for succession purposes since April 2012; Same-sex marriage since 2017 (does not apply within Sark)
Adoption Legal since 2017

Lesbian, gay, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Guernsey have improved significantly in the past decades. Same-sex sexual activity for both men and women is legal in Guernsey. Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2 May 2017 in Guernsey, and since 14 June 2018 in its dependency, Alderney. The same-sex marriage law does not apply to Sark. Since April 2017, same-sex couples can adopt in Guernsey. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been banned since 2004.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Prior to 1983, same-sex sexual activity was illegal; after decriminalisation, the age of consent was set at 21 (in line with the UK at that time).[1] In 2000, the age of consent for male same-sex sexual acts was lowered to 18.[2] In 2010, the States of Guernsey backed, in principle, a proposal to equalise the age of consent at 16.[3][4] Legislation to this effect was approved in 2011 and took effect on 5 November 2012.[5][6][7] However, Guernsey retains some male homosexual specific offences in its criminal law.[7]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Guernsey has recognised civil partnerships performed in the United Kingdom and other relationships treated as such by the UK law for succession purposes in inheritance and other matters respecting interests in property since 2 April 2012.[8][9][10] A proposal to abolish state-sanctioned marriages in favour of a Union Civile (for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples) was rejected by the States in favour of a same-sex marriage law in December 2015.[11]

In December 2015, the States of Guernsey approved a motion to legalise same-sex marriage by a vote of 37–7.[12] A bill legalising same-sex marriage was drafted and formally approved by the States on 21 September 2016.[13] It received royal assent later that year and went into effect on 2 May 2017.[14]

The law did not apply to Alderney and Sark. Alderney preciously recognised same-sex marriages from abroad for certain purposes (i.e. inheritance). On 18 October 2017, the States of Alderney voted 9-0 in favour of a same-sex marriage.[15] The law received royal assent 13 December 2017[16] and went into effect on 14 June 2018.[17][18][19]

Same-sex unions are not recognised in Sark.

Discrimination protections[edit]

Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity ("gender reassignment") is banned since 2004.[20]

Adoption and parenting[edit]

Lesbian couples can access IVF and artificial insemination since 2009.[21]

In May 2015, Guernsey's Chief Minister announced that a review of the 1960 Adoption Law which barred unmarried couples from jointly adopting was scheduled for 24 June 2015.[22] The Chief Minister hoped to extend full adoption rights to couples in overseas civil partnerships and those who have lived together for some time.[23][24] On 24 June 2015, the States of Guernsey agreed by a vote of 38 to 2 to bring about changes to its adoption law and recognise civil partnerships and other foreign unions.[25][26][27]

Since April 2017, same-sex couples can jointly adopt in Guernsey. The Population Management (Guernsey) Law, 2016, which took effect on 3 April, contains provisions allowing same-sex couples who are married, in a civil partnership or in a "subsisting relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership" to adopt.[28][29] The law only applies to the island of Guernsey. However, adoption applications from Alderney and Sark are dealt with in Guernsey courts, as such same-sex adoption is legal in the entire Bailiwick.[30]

Gender identity and expression[edit]

Since 2007, transgender people can legally change their gender on their birth certificates. However, Guernsey law only allows a new birth certificate to be issued, it does not amend or remove records from existing birth certificates.[21][31]

Local LGBT charities and organisations[edit]

Liberate is the only organisation in the Channel Islands that represents the local LGBT community. It was established in February 2014 with the aim to "include, inform and support the local LGBTQ community", as well as to reform discriminatory laws in the Bailiwick.[32]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1984)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 2012)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only Yes (Since 2004)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes (Since 2004)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriage Yes (Since 2017 in Guernsey and 2018 in Alderney – does not apply in Sark)
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples Yes (Since 2017)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples Yes (Since 2017)
LGBT persons allowed to serve openly in the military Yes (UK responsible for defence)
Right to change legal gender Yes (Since 2007)
Access to IVF for lesbians Yes (Since 2009)
MSMs allowed to donate blood Yes/No (1 year deferral required since 2011)[33]
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No (Banned for heterosexual couples as well)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Sexual Offences (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1983
  2. ^ The Sexual Offences (Amendment) (Guernsey) Law, 2000
  4. ^ "Guernsey gay age of consent lowered to 16". BBC News. 25 March 2010. 
  5. ^ BILLET D’ÉTAT No. I, 2011
  6. ^ The Sexual Offences (Bailiwick of Guernsey) (Amendment) Law, 2011
  7. ^ a b Homosexual Offenses and Human Rights in Guernsey
  8. ^ The Inheritance (Guernsey) Law, 2011
  9. ^ The Inheritance (Guernsey) Law, 2011 (Commencement) Ordinance, 2012
  10. ^ Private client law in Guernsey: overview
  11. ^ "Same-sex marriage gets Guernsey States approval". BBC News. 10 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "Same-sex marriage gets Guernsey States approval". BBC News. 10 December 2015. Archived from the original on 22 July 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  13. ^ "Big, gay wedding bells in Guernsey next year". ITV Channel Television. 21 September 2016. Archived from the original on 25 September 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  14. ^ "The Same-Sex Marriage (Guernsey) Law, 2016 (Commencement) Ordinance, 2017". Guernsey Legal Resources. Archived from the original on 26 April 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  15. ^ "Alderney votes to legalise same-sex marriage". Archived from the original on 19 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017. 
  16. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 2017-12-14. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-14. Retrieved 2017-12-15. 
  17. ^ "Same-sex marriage legalised in Alderney". ITV Channel Television. Archived from the original on 13 June 2018. Retrieved 13 June 2018. 
  18. ^ "Billet d'Etat 13 June 2018". States of Alderney. Archived from the original on 6 June 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  19. ^ "The Same-Sex Marriage (Alderney) Law, 2017 (Commencement) Ordinance, 2018". States of Alderney. Archived from the original on 6 June 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  20. ^ The Prevention of Discrimination (Enabling Provisions (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2004
  21. ^ a b LGBTQ History: Travel back in time with our comprehensive timeline Liberate
  22. ^ 2015 June 24 Billet XI Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Adoption law changes proposed to make all couples equal
  24. ^ Billet D'Etat 24 June 2015: Pages 25-32
  25. ^ Guernsey follows Jersey in new adoption rules
  26. ^ Guernsey law change allows same-sex couples to adopt
  27. ^ States' Meeting of 24 June 2015
  28. ^ PROJET DE LOI: The Population Management (Guernsey) Law, 2016
  29. ^ Quick guide to Population Management Law
  30. ^ Adoption The Royal Court of Guernsey
  31. ^ "Legal Resources: Legal Resources Navigation List: Guernsey Law Reports 2007–08 GLR 161". 
  32. ^ Channel Island LGBT Charity, Liberate
  33. ^