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History is made Jersey as first same-sex wedding takes place

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JERSEY’S first same-sex marriage took place yesterday at the Registry Office in the Royal Square between a couple who have been together for 20 years.

Guests shower John Cronin and Neil Renouf with confetti as they leave the Registry Office. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (21949381)

Neil Renouf (56) and John Cronin (53) tied the knot at noon in a ceremony which has been described as a ‘significant milestone’ towards equality by diversity charity Liberate.

The same-sex wedding is the first of a number which are planned to take place over the next few months after the Island’s new marriage laws came into effect on Sunday 2 July.

The happy couple celebrated with friends at the Samphire restaurant and are due to host a house party next month before jetting off to Greece for their first holiday as husband and husband in September.

Speaking before the ceremony, Mr Renouf, who works as an optician’s assistant, said that he met Mr Cronin, who is a hairdresser, two decades ago on a night out in Jersey.

‘We met together 20 years ago at the La Cala club on the Esplanade while drinking champagne and Red Bull and it all went from there,’ he said.

‘Today is going to be a bit nerve-racking but I’m sure we will get there in the end. We are going to have a small reception at Samphire and some drinks with friends later at the same venue.

‘On the August bank holiday we are planning to have a house party for all the people who couldn’t make the wedding. We already had a holiday together booked for September and will be going to Greece.’

He added that he thought the introduction of same-sex marriages in Jersey could be a boost for the economy, as well as for equality in general.

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‘I think nowadays people are generally freer to do what they want, which is great,’ he said.

‘And I do think this could attract more people to come over here as they will want to get married in the Island. Gay couples tend to spend a lot of money too.’

Vic Tanner-Davy, the honorary chief executive of Liberate, said that they were looking forward to seeing many more same-sex weddings take place in the Island.

‘Liberate is delighted that marriage is now open to all couples regardless of sexual orientation,’ he said.

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‘For Jersey’s LGBT+ community, the first same-sex marriage represents a significant milestone on the road to full equality under the law. We wish the happy couple every joy on their special and historic day and in their future together.

‘We look forward to seeing many more same-sex couples, from within and outside the Island, choosing to get married in Jersey.’

Jersey’s Superintendent Registrar Claire Follain said that she was ‘delighted’ that the new legislation was in place and that Jersey’s same-sex couples could ‘celebrate their commitment to each other’ and enjoy marriage ceremonies.

‘I had the pleasure of officiating at the first ceremony and it was very special,’ she said.

‘We look forward to welcoming other same-sex couples to be married in Jersey as the year goes on, and offer our warm congratulations to our first couple who have made history in Jersey.’

As well as the new marriage law allowing same-sex couples to tie the knot, couples have been given more choice over who marries them and where they get married, such as in open-air ceremonies.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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