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The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations are secondary legislation in the United Kingdommarker, outlawing discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities, services, education and public functions on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The legislation is made under powers granted by the Equality Act 2006. Sections 81 and 82 of the Equality Act give the power to make regulations to the Secretary of State and the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland,respectively. Regulations made under section 81 cover Great Britainmarker (i.e., England and Wales and Scotlandmarker) whereas regulations made under section 82 extend to Northern Irelandmarker.

The regulations for Great Britainmarker were approved by a vote in both Houses of Parliamentmarker. The procedure for the Northern Ireland regulations was specified as a vote by the Northern Ireland Assembly. Given this had been suspended, arrangements for measures that require approval by the Northern Ireland Assembly were subject to the negative procedure (i.e., they could be annulled by a resolution of either House of Parliament).

Northern Ireland Regulations

The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 were made on 8 November 2006 and laid before Parliamentmarker under paragraph 7(3) of the Schedule to the Northern Ireland Act 2000 since the Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended. The regulations came into force on 1 January 2007. Later in January 2007 there was an attempt to pass a motion to pray for an annulment of the regulations in the House of Lordsmarker. The resolution failed to pass by a margin of 199 to 68. Regulations covering Great Britainmarker came into force on the 30th April 2007.

In 2007, the Christian Institute (CI) and others sought a judicial review to overturn the Sexual Orientation Regulations in Northern Irelandmarker. Mr Justice Weatherup rejected the CI's complaint, ruling that while a clause relating to harassment (a clause unique to the Northern Irish version of the Regulations) should be set aside, the remainder of the Regulations were to remain in force.

Regulations relating to Great Britain

Regulations covering the rest of the United Kingdommarker were first laid before Parliamentmarker on the 7th March 2007. The Government had previously made an announcement that, for examples adoption agencies will be covered by the regulations (including those with a religious affiliation).

The regulations were approved by the House of Commonsmarker on the 19th March and after debate by the House of Lordsmarker on the 21st March 2007. The regulations entered into effect on the 30th April 2007.

Guidance on the regulations was also issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham declared his opposition to the act, saying that the legislation contradicted the Catholic Church's "moral values". He supported the unsuccessful effort to have Catholic adoption agencies exempted from sexual orientation regulations.

See also


  3. "Gay rights laws facing challenge", BBC News, 9 January 2007
  4. No 10 Downing Street Statement
  6. Guidance on the Sexual Orientation regulations

External links

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