Scenic island becomes last place in Britain to legalize same-sex marriage

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La Coupee causeway on Sark (Photo: Sark Tourism)

Sark has become the last place in Britain to legalize same-sex marriage, and local tourism chiefs hope same-sex couples will consider the island as a potential wedding destination.

Sark is one of the Channel Islands that lie between England and France. The tiny island is just 4.5 square miles, with a resident population of around 500. Despite its small size, it’s a popular tourist spot.

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Many visit to enjoy its scenic beauty and old-fashioned way of life. Cars and street lights are both banned on the island (you can see why it’s perhaps been slow to embrace same-sex marriage!).

Horses and carriages are still used to carry people around if they’re unable or don’t wish to walk.

Grand Greve, Sark (Photo: Sark Tourism)

Officially, Sark if a fief within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a Crown dependency of the United Kingdom. It maintains its own legal system. Neighboring island Guernsey legalized same-sex marriage in 2017, followed by Alderney and Jersey – other Channel Islands – in 2018.

Sark drafted legislation in October, and it was passed in its Parliament on Tuesday. The new law is expected to come into force in February.

La Seigneurie, Sark (Photo: Pixabay)

Sam Le Trobe Bateman, of Sark’s Policy and Finance Committee, told the BBC the law change would help boost further tourism: “It’s the perfect wedding venue. To open it up to same-sex couples is fantastic for them and fantastic for us.

“The more people we bring here, the better.”

Sark offers a dramatic, rocky landscape, with many taking the ferry from Guernsey to explore the island (there’s no airport).

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Biking, hiking, kayaking and boat trips are popular, with coves and bays to explore. Local landmarks include La Couppee – a causeway joining big and little Sark – La Seigneurie Gardens, and a small stone circle (“Sark Henge”), while the absence of outdoor lighting also makes it a great place for stargazing.