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How is our work influencing life in Northern Ireland and delivering equality? Learn more about our policy, legal and research work.
 
 

Sexual orientation

Law reform
Law reform

What you need to know

 

Sexual Orientation Law Reform


Since 1 January 2007 it has been unlawful to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods, facilities and services, education and public functions. Up until then, the law only applied to employment and vocational training.

The Commission recommends that strategic action is required to strengthen legal protections for LGB individuals. This includes:
 
  • Reform of the sexual orientation equality law against discrimination and harassment
  • Introduce legislation that permits same – sex marriage and provides heterosexual couples access to civil partnerships on the same basis as that available to same sex couples
  • Extend the scope of adoption legislation so as to allow unmarried couples, those in civil partnership and same sex couples to apply to be considered as adoptive parents

Our LGB priorities and recommendations in detail

 

Delivery of a robust and comprehensive sexual orientation strategy

We are calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to deliver a robust and comprehensive sexual orientation strategy.

We have identified three priority areas which need strategic action:

  • tackling prejudicial attitudes and behaviours towards LGB individuals; specifically in relation to homophobic hate crime and violence; harassment both inside and outside the workplace and homophobic bullying in schools
  • promoting positive attitudes towards LGB individuals
  • raising awareness of rights of LGB people themselves and amongst those with responsibilities under the sexual orientation equality legislation.

Further information:

 

NI Freedom of Conscience Amendment Bill

We have responded to the Private Member’s Bill consultation on NI Freedom of Conscience Amendment. Our response states that the Commission does not support either of the proposed amendments to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 (Sexual Orientation Regulations) as set out in draft bill.

Read our response in full:
 
 
 

The Equality Commission's priorities & recommendations

In the video opposite, Chief Commissioner Michael Wardlow discusses our policy positions on same sex marriage, adoption by
gay and unmarried couples and gay blood donation.


Further information:

 

 

 
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