LGBT rights in the Isle of Man

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LGBT rights in the Isle of Man
Location of the  Isle of Man  (red)in the British Isles  (red & grey)
Location of the  Isle of Man  (red)

in the British Isles  (red & grey)

Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1992, age of consent equal since 2006
Military service UK military since 2000
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
Civil partnerships since 2011
Adoption Full adoption rights since 2011

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in the Isle of Man have become substantially more liberal since the early 1990s. Most acts of male homosexuality on the island ceased to be contrary to the law in 1992. LGBT people have been given many more rights in the law, such as an equal age of consent (2006), employment protection from discrimination (2006), gender recognition (2009), the right to enter into civil partnerships and the right to adopt children (2011). However same-sex marriage is not permitted, and some acts of male homosexuality remain a criminal offence.

While not part of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man has followed the UK's example in incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights into its own laws by the Human Rights Act 2001.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Prior to September 1992, same-sex sexual activity was a criminal offence. After decriminalisation, the age of consent was set at 21, which at that time was the same age as in the United Kingdom; in 2001, the age of consent for male homosexuals was lowered to eighteen by the Criminal Justice Act 2001 (c.4)[1] In 2006, by the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2006 (c.3), the age of consent was lowered again to sixteen, becoming gender-neutral for all sexual conduct, regardless of gender and sexual orientation.[2][3][4] However, the Isle of Man retains specific offences in its criminal law for some male homosexuality.[5]

Section 9 of the Sexual Offences Act 1992 continues to apply the criminal law to some "unnatural offenses" between men. Sub-sections (1) and (4) make "buggery" and "gross indecency" between men offences if one or both of the parties is under sixteen and also if the acts are committed "elsewhere than in private." The meaning of this is defined in Section 10: not in private means that "more than two persons are present" or that the location is "any place to which the public have or are permitted to have access, whether on payment or otherwise."[5][6]

Gender identity/expression[edit]

Transsexual persons are allowed to change their legal gender and to have their new gender recognised as a result of the Gender Recognition Act 2009 (c.11).[7][8]

Civil partnerships[edit]

Since 2011, same-sex couples are provided with civil partnerships.[9] The Civil Partnership Bill 2011 passed all stages of both the House of keys and the Legislative Council and was signed into law on 15 March 2011. The Civil Partnership Act 2011 (c. 2) took effect on 6 April 2011.[10][11][12][13] It was decided in 2014 that same-sex marriages from England, Wales and Scotland as well as other relationships performed abroad will be treated as civil partnerships on the island.[14]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

At present, same-sex marriage is prevented in the Isle of Man by the Marriage and Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2011 (c. 3).[15] On 9 June 2015, Chief Minister Alan Bell announced his intention to repeal the law barring same-sex marriage on the island.[16] On 15 October 2015, the public consultation process on a proposal to allow same-sex marriage began and lasted until 13 November.[17]

The first reading on a bill to introduce same-sex marriage happened on 2 February 2016.[18] The second reading was held on 9 February 2016.[19] The legislation is planned to be implemented in summer 2016.[20]

Adoption and family planning[edit]

By the Civil Partnership Act 2011 (c. 2), same-sex couples in the Isle of Man have been allowed equal access to full joint or step adoption since 6 April 2011.

Additionally, lesbian couples can get access to artificial insemination.

Discrimination protections[edit]

Under the Employment Act 2006 (c. 21), taking effect on 1 September 2006, the Isle of Man adopted legislation which made it unlawful to dismiss employees on the grounds of their sexual orientation.[21][22] At the time, LGBT reports from the Isle of Man stated that the island's government was "falling behind", in line with European Human Rights decisions.[23]

In 2013, after a highly publicised case on the island involving a lesbian couple who were not allowed to rent a house by a church leader, Chief Minister Alan Bell announced that legislation to outlaw all forms of discrimination in goods and services would be introduced.[24] The draft of the Equality Bill 2015 is based on the English Equality Act 2010 and would replace all existing anti-discrimination laws into one piece of legislation.[25] Consultation on the Bill ended in November 2014.[26] As of February 2016, no further action has been taken on the Equality Bill.

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1992)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 2006)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes (Since 2006)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No (Proposed)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Recognition of same-sex couples Yes (Since 2011)
Same-sex marriages No (Pending; Same-sex marriage from abroad is treated as civil partnerships since 2014)
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples Yes (Since 2011)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No (Since 2011)
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military Yes (Since 2000)
Right to change legal gender Yes (Since 2007)
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples Emblem-question.svg
Access to IVF for lesbians Yes (Since 2009)
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]