The Isle of Man has passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage for its more than 85,000 citizens.
Drew Sheldrick

27 Apr 2016 - 9:56 AM  UPDATED 27 Apr 2016 - 9:54 AM

The parliament of British dependency the Isle of Man has voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage.

The BBC reports that that Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Bill passed its third reading in the Legislative Council, six votes to three, on Tuesday.

Same-sex couples will now be allowed to marry in a civil ceremony or in a religious ceremony, subject to agreement of the religious institution.

Isle of Man chief minister Allan Bell launched a public consultation on the bill in October 2015, saying at the time that it was the right moment for the legislation to be introduced.

"I recognise that the proposed legislation to allow same-sex couples to be married may generate strong and polarised views, with some organisations and individuals believing very strongly that marriage can only ever be between a man and a woman," Bell said.

"However, the time is right for this legislation to be introduced.  I believe that the values of fairness and tolerance are shared by the overwhelming majority of people in our Island and that allowing loving, committed couples of the same sex to be married in no way undermines the institution of marriage."

176 responses to consultation were received, 90 of which were supportive of allowing same-sex couples to marry, 76 opposed, and 10 other responses.

The Manx Rainbow Association, which advocates on behalf the Isle of Man's LGBTQI community, welcomed Tuesday's successful vote, as well as the defeat of amendments that would have made changes to the island's Equality Act to allow sole traders the right to refuse service to people for reasons of a "strong belief".

Homosexuality was illegal in the Isle of Man until 1992. It legalised civil partnerships for same-sex couples in 2011.