The Falkland Islands has passed historic legislation to legalise same-sex marriage.
The Legislative Assembly also voted overwhelmingly to approve civil partnerships for both same-sex couples and heterosexual couples.
The British Overseas Territory, which has a population of around 3,000, passed the law with seven votes in favour, and one against.
The extention of marriage rights comes after a public consultation, which found that 90% of respondents within the Falkland Islands were in favour of same-sex marriage and 94% were in favour of civil partnerships for all couples.
87% supported church weddings for same-sex couples when permitted by the church concerned.
A spokesperson for the islands, located in the South Atlantic ocean, told PinkNews: “The move sends a clear and powerful message that all people and all relationships are equal, it does not matter whether they are a same sex couple or not and the law now reflects the Falkland Islands’ tradition of being an open, tolerant and respectful community.”
They added: “The legislative changes will put civil partnership on an equal footing with marriage and it will be an option open to any couple who wish to solidify their relationship with legal underpinning, but who do not wish to go down the traditional route of marriage.”
The bill guarantees couples in civil partnerships the same parental rights as married couples and notes that “parents to a child may be two mothers or two fathers”.
The islands become one of just a handful of territories to recognise civil partnerships for all couples, and part of an even shorter list to offer the same rights for civil partnerships as marriage.
And with 90% support for marriage equality, it’s thought the territory is one of the most LGBT friendly places on the planet.
The Falklands is also set to hold its own pride event, the most southerly pride in the world, at the end of April.
Last year the Isle of Man finally passed same-sex marriage, making Northern Ireland the only place in the UK to refuse same-sex marriages.
As a crown dependency, it was the last part of the UK to legalise homosexuality in 1992.
The Manx Legislative Council passed its Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Bill with six votes in favour and three against in April 2016.
Same-sex marriage proposals have also been approved already in Jersey and Guernsey.
by Benjamin Butterworth
Source – PinkNews