The leader of one of the few parts of Britain left without marriage equality has revealed that he is gay – not that it was ever a secret for him.
Isle of Man Chief Minister Allan Bell revealed this week to The Guardian that he has been in a relationship with another man for the past 21 years – something that the newspaper described as an open secret on the Isle.
‘People know that I’m gay. I’ve never made a secret of it, but no one has ever asked me,’ Bell told The Guardian.
However Manx local media are now wishing they had thought to ask, being scooped on a story that was right in front of them the whole time.
Manx Radio ran the headline ‘Chief Minister comes out to UK newspaper,’ while Isle of Man Today declared, ‘Bell speaks openly about being gay for the first time!’
The Isle of Man is a self governing British Crown dependency and is technically not part of the United Kingdom despite sitting between the islands of Ireland and Great Britain.
It only decriminalized homosexuality in 1992 – until which you could controversially have been given up to life imprisonment for being gay.
The Isle of Man has had civil partnerships since 2011 and same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions have been recognized as civil partnerships since 2014 but Bell now believes it’s time for the Manx people to go the whole hog in allowing gays and lesbians to marry on the island.
Bell says he intends to put forward a bill to legalize same-sex marriage on the Isle of Man before the end of the 2015-2016 term of its lower house of parliament – the House of Keys.
This has been reposted from Gay Star News.