13th November 2017

Guernsey aimed for equal adoption rights

The States of Guernsey resolved to make a number of changes to its almost 60-years-old adoption laws when it met in June 2015.

Significantly, the law allowed for married or single couples to adopt. However, the definition of a married couple only extended to mixed-gender pairings, which was at odds with the island’s laws. Guernsey had voted to equalise the age of consent in 2010 and recognised same-sex marriages performed abroad for the purposes of inheritance tax since 2012.

The laws in this area were evolving all the time. Same-sex marriage was treated equally with mixed-sex unions for the purposes of calculating a couple’s tax burden by 2015 and there were moves to approve equal marriage within the Bailiwick. In a 10 December 2015 vote in the States of Guernsey, 37 Deputies had been in favour, while just seven voted against (three didn’t vote).

The adoption law therefore needed updating to reflect the changes in Guernsey’s take on partnerships, since there was no way for both members of a same-sex couple to adopt with equal rights. The only option would have been for one of them to become the legal guardian and the other, effectively, to have no rights at all.

A crucial amendment

Rather than devise an entirely new law, the States of Guernsey simply amended its existing 1960 provisions and presented them to the Queen for approval. On the advice of her ministers, she did so on 11 October 2017.

The revised law was then ordered by the Bailiff to be added to Guernsey’s statute books on 13 November 2017. The key change was to amend the definition of what constituted a couple to state neither that they had to be of different genders or, crucially, married.

This latter point was important because it no longer compelled mixed gender male and female couples to marry before they should be allowed to adopt.


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Other events that occured in November

Car plane air crash caused airport fireball 1st
A hospital worker stood accused of murder 2nd
Sark’s vineyards were vandalised 3rd
The original Torteval church was consecrated 4th
Sibyl Beaumont married Robert Hathaway 5th
The papers were excited by a Guernsey execution 6th
The States agrees to pay the Bailiff 7th
States of Guernsey hired its first independent vet
The Little Theatre was reprieved… for a while 8th
Guernsey was declared free of cholera 9th
Guernsey optician Specsavers was founded 10th
The court considered a Guernsey porn dealer’s testimony 11th
Guernsey Yacht Club was founded 12th
Guernsey aimed for equal adoption rights 13th
Jethou’s tenant fell off his own cliff 14th
Dad’s Army actor John le Mesurier died 15th
A Guernsey recruit regretted signing up 16th
Horticultural painter William Caparne was born 17th
German forces confiscated Guernsey’s radios 18th
A plane crashed on Crevichon 19th
Sark featured in the music charts 20th
Guernsey recruits caused concern in Parliament 21st
First Guernsey competitor took part in Miss World 22nd
A Lancaster bomber crashed on Sark 23rd
Sark women get the right to inherit 24th
Spanish flu arrived on Guernsey 25th
Guernsey held its first full marathon 26th
Admiral Thomas Le Marchant Gosselin died 27th
HMS Boreas sank at Hanois 28th
Radio station Contact 94 went off the air 29th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry memorial was unveiled 30th