The States of Jersey had planned to bring in Equal Marriage during 2017 but that change in the legislation has been delayed. Until then, same sex couples are able to enter into civil partnerships by virtue of the Civil Partnership (Jersey) Law 2012. This Law gives same sex couples almost all the rights and responsibilities of married couples. There are minor differences in the way civil partners complete their tax returns, no provision for consummation of a civil partnership and no concept of adultery on dissolution of a civil partnership. Arrangements for the dissolution of a civil partnership are almost the same as for divorce and arrangements for children and financial settlements are the same.
When the Civil Partnership (Jersey) Law 2012 was brought in however, some quite significant consequential matters were not dealt with. Currently, although arrangements for children on dissolution are the same as if the couple had been married, the treatment of children at the start of a civil partnership is sadly not equal to that of a married couple. Non-biological parents in civil partnerships do not automatically obtain parental responsibility for their children as they do in England and Wales. Neither can they be included on their child’s birth certificate. These discriminatory omissions on the part of the States means that when same sex couples have children, they have to make an application for a joint residence order or even an adoption order. It is hoped that the States of Jersey will rectify these anomalies when the new legislation relating to Equal Marriage is passed.