Sexual OrientationLast updated: 05 September 2012 18:14
Sexual orientation means a person’s sexual attraction towards:
- persons of the same sex (that is, the person is a gay man or a lesbian)
- persons of the opposite sex (that is, the person is heterosexual)
- persons of either sex (that is, the person is bisexual)
The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for public bodies, goods and service providers, associations and employers to discriminate against a person because of their sexual orientation, or because they perceive a person to be of a particular sexual orientation. It is also against the law to discriminate against a person because they associate with someone who is of a particular sexual orientation.
Civil Partnership Act 2004 provides a legal framework for same-sex couples to arrange their lives together including mutual responsibilities and financial matters. It gives same-sex couples who wish to make a commitment to each other an option different to marriage, but with similar rights and responsibilities.
The government is currently considering introducing equal rights civil marriage for same-sex couples. The public consultation on this issue has taken place and the Government will publish its response by the end of 2012. Currently, civil marriages are only open to opposite sex couples and civil partnerships are only open to same sex couples.
If you have been a victim of a crime and you think that this might have been motivated by your sexuality or sexuality of someone you know, you may have experienced homophobic hate crime.
If you have been a victim of homophobic hate crime, report it to the police. The police now have a dedicated website called ‘True Vision’ where people can report hate crime.
Generally, sentences for crimes proven to have been motivated by a person’s sexuality will be tougher and the police will treat your report of such crime very seriously.
Alternatively, or in addition to reporting the homophobic crime to the police, you can get support from our Hate Crime Service.