Sexual Orientation Archive
The Equality Act 2010 harmonised and replaced previous legislation (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and Disability Discrimination Act 1995) with a Single Act.
The information below has been archived and is published for reference only
There are currently no Acts of Parliament (either at U.K. or Scottish level) which protect the rights of individuals with regard to sexual orientation.
The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations became law on 1 December 2003 following European Council Directive 2000/78/EC.
These Regulations make it unlawful to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation. This includes 'orientation towards someone of the same sex (lesbian or gay men), opposite sex (heterosexual) or both sexes (bisexual)'.
The Regulations apply to all employers in the public and private sectors.
The Regulations outlaw direct discrimination and indirect discrimination as well as harassment and victimisation.
Where a case is brought to an industrial tribunal, the employer must prove that the treatment is justifiable and non-discriminatory.
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 allows same sex couples to go through a civil ceremony and enter into a civil contract that confers similar rights and responsibilities as marriage for male / female couples.
As same sex marriages are allowed in many countries, gay rights campaigners may well mount legal challenges to this arrangement. The law comes into force in December 2005.