“Sexual Orientation is taken here to mean sexual emotional and physical attraction to:
- persons of the same sex as oneself;
- persons of the opposite sex to oneself; or
- persons of the same sex as, and persons of the opposite sex to, oneself.
A Consultation took place in 2006 and a strategic action plan was drafted to identify and tackle human rights and equality issues relating to sexual orientation. The strategy is currently being refreshed in light of a recent needs analysis study.
There has been a strong emphasis on partnership working with the sexual orientation sector. All Departments have contributed to a supporting draft action plan which is under review in line with the strategy.
The recent Cohesion, Sharing and Integration consultation document indicates that Ministers are fully committed to publishing the sexual orientation strategy. In answer to AQO/121/11 on 27 September 2010, Junior Minister Newton reaffirmed to the Assembly the committment to publish a Strategy and outlined how this work will be taken forward. He confirmed that a Strategy will be published.
Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998
Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity on the bases of nine listed grounds, one of which is sexual orientation.
Human Rights Act 1998
The Human Rights Act 1998 sets out fundamental rights and freedoms as contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. Individuals can now bring challenge to the UK courts if they feel their rights have been breached by a public authority.
The Civil Partnership Act 2004
The Civil Partnership Act created a new legal status that allows adult of the same sex to gain formal recognition of their relationship.
- Access The Civil Partnership Act 2004
- Access the Civil Partnerships Guidance
- Access the Civil Partnerships Leaflet
The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006
These regulations give protection from discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services.
- Access the Provision of Goods, Facilities, Services, and Premises.
- Access Enabling Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Individuals To Access Their Rights Under Equality Law
- Access The Equality Act (Sexual orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006
The Employment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002
This Order and subsequent regulations give same-sex parents in Northern Ireland rights in relation to adoptive/parental leave and flexible working.
Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003
These Regulations prohibit discrimination and harassment on the ground of sexual orientation in employment and vocational training. The Regulations were made following a consultation on the implementation of the European Union Employment Framework Directive.
- Access the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003
- Access the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 – Equality Impact Assessment
- Access Promoting Equality of Opportunity – Implementing EU Equality Obligations in Northern Ireland consultation document
- Access the European Union Employment Framework Directive
The Criminal Justice (No.2) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004
This Order provides for increased penalties for offences motivated by hostility towards a person’s race, religion, disability of sexual orientation.