Falkland Islands: Civil Unions On The Way


Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands haven’t really been in the news since Maggie Thatcher stood up to Argentina in a dispute over the Islands’ control back in the 80s but here they are making headlines again with the news that they are taking steps to recognise same-sex couples.

Falklands Financial Secretary Nicola Granger announced this month that a civil unions bill will be introduced to the Legislative Assembly in the near future.

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The Falkland Islands has a population of approximately 3000 people and remains a British overseas territory.

On 13 January 2016, following a public consultation, the Council instructed the Attorney General to prepare an amendment to the island’s Marriage Ordinance 1996, in order to allow same-sex marriage.

The public consultation found that 90% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and 94% were in favour of civil partnerships for all couples.

The Council, considering whether to approve a bill to legalise same-sex marriage and create civil partnership for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, instructed the Attorney General to publish it in the official gazette, thereby commencing the legislative process as a first reading, as well as to prepare further legislation necessary to its implementation.

On 30 March 2017, the Legislative Assembly approved a same-sex marriage bill by a 7 to 1 vote.

The bill allows same-sex couples to marry and also allows both same-sex and opposite-sex couples the right to access a civil partnership.

The bill received royal assent by Governor Colin Roberts on 13 April 2017.

The new law, known as the Marriage (Amendment) Act 2017, went into effect on 29 April 2017.

A community event to celebrate same-sex marriage becoming legal took place that same day.